Tesla and SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk recently emphasized the threat Artificial Intelligence (AI) poses on the human race. In an open letter to the United Nations, Musk and other robotic experts, said artificial super intelligence would lead to “lethal autonomous weapons” that would bring the “third revolution in warfare”.
The letter was signed by 115 robotic experts who feel the need to raise the alarm on artificially intelligent robots – which they state, are a present danger and not necessarily a threat coming in the distant future.
If you're not concerned about AI safety, you should be. Vastly more risk than North Korea. pic.twitter.com/2z0tiid0lc
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 12, 2017
The letter states that this Pandora’s box will be hard to close, once it is opened. “Once developed, they will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend. These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. We do not have long to act.”
They ultimately welcome “the decision of the UN’s Conference of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) to establish a Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems”, with many of their “researchers and engineers eager to offer technical advice to their deliberations”.
As pointed out in an article posted on The Ladders, it’s clear Musk isn’t mildly concerned about AI.
In 2014, he told students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that artificial intelligence was “our biggest existential threat” and compared artificial intelligence research to a metaphor of Good and Evil.
“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon, in all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out.”
In 2017, Musk went for another argument. When Musk founded his brain-implant company, Neuralink, he explained the existential risk we’re facing with artificial intelligence yet again during a press tour.
He said we’re going to have the choice of either being left behind and being effectively useless or like a pet. “Like a house cat or something…or eventually figuring out some way to be symbiotic and merge with AI. A house cat’s a good outcome, by the way.”
At the moment, Musk’s warnings about AI are falling on deaf ears. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg disagrees with Musk’s proclamations, saying people who “drum up these doomsday scenarios” are “pretty irresponsible” during a Live Facebook Feed. Musk hit back and wrote on Twitter: “I’ve talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.”
I've talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 25, 2017
Vanity Fair compiled a graph, showing us tech leaders and their stance on Artificial Intelligence. Bill Gates is among those who are for it and said in the past that the intelligence in AI “is strong enough to be a concern”.