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UNCHAINING DEMONS which might DESTROY HUMANITY: Musk on AI

'I invest only to monitor the threat'

By Jasper Hamill, 27 Oct 2014

Electro-car kingpin and spacecraft mogul Elon Musk has warned that meddling with Artificial Intelligence risks "summoning the demon" that could destroy humanity.

The Musky motor trader is terrified that humanity will end up creating a synthetic monster that we cannot control.

And no, the SpaceX billionaire didn't warn us about a technology in which he has no stake – he has made investments in the emerging field – which would appear to indicate he believes those bloody robots might end up killing us all if we're not careful.

On the subject of investing in AI, Musk told CNBC in June: "I like to just keep an eye on what's going on with artificial Intelligence.... I mean, there have been movies about this, like Terminator."

Speaking on Friday at the Centennial Symposium of the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Centennial Symposium, Musk said: "I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I were to guess like what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that.

"So we need to be very careful with the artificial intelligence. Increasingly scientists think there should be some regulatory oversight maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. 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."

Remember Dr Faustus? The bloke who did a deal with the devil? Elon clearly remembers one part of the story, which didn't turn out so well for its hapless devil-summoning eponymous hero.

Of course, depending on your point of view, some humans have already summoned the demon. Terminator actor Arnie Schwarzenegger, who played a robot from the future, managed to become the governor of California, proving you don't need to fake intelligence to make a contribution to global Armageddon.

Musk has always been a bit nervous about our incoming robot overlords, warning humanity to be "super careful" about a technology which was "potentially more dangerous than nukes".

All of this sounds a bit doomy-gloomy for a man who is supposed to be dedicated to changing the world one bit of expensive consumer tech at a time.

We liked the 'leccy car dealer much better when all he talked about was his plans to "unveil the D".

Despite Elon's excitement, his D simply isn't allowed to hang out in some parts of the world. Like Michigan, for instance, where Governor Synder recently banned the direct sale of Tesla's motors.

In case you're in any doubt, the D is actually a car which comes with dual motors.

What did you think he was talking about? ®

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