Elon Musk: AI 'Scariest Problem' Facing Civilization

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, speaking to USA governors this weekend, told the political leaders that artificial intelligence poses an "existential threat" to human civilization.

Musk also argued that regulation is important so that AI companies' respective developments can be paused and then analyzed to make sure they're safe.

Speaking at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island this week, Musk spoke to a group of Democratic and Republican governors, urging them to take proactive action to prepare for the rise of AI. Musk at that point drew a difference amongst AI and conventional focuses for direction, saying "AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization, in a way that vehicle accidents, airplane crashes, faulty drugs, or bad food were not".

Musk added that in 20 years, owning a vehicle that doesn't drive itself will be the equivalent of someone today owning a horse. Here's what he said: "AI is the rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive".

Long story short, as Musk puts it, "the biggest risk we face as a civilization is artificial intelligence".

He added that what he believes is the current model of regulation by governments is to try and take control of the situation once "a whole bunch of bad things happen". And, in fact, Musk himself has previously invested in Artificial Intelligence companies such DeepMind and Vicarious.

Yes, "robots will do everything better than us", Musk said. Among those nominated that year were people who believe in the "artificial intelligence apocalypse" and folks who choose taxi cabs over rider-sharing companies like Uber, among others. According to Musk, the content of science fiction movies and literature like killer robots will surprise the world without knowing how to deal with them. The said technology aims to create an interface between the human mind and the computer.

Electric cars were also part of the conversation, with Musk telling the governors the biggest risk from autonomous cars is a "fleet-wide hack" of the software that controls them. "If your competitor is rushing to build AI and you don't, it will crush you, " Musk said.

Woz made his feelings on AI known during an interview with the Australian Financial Review the other year, agreeing with Hawking and Musk that its potential to surpass humans is worrying.

Musk's comments come at a point when he himself is exploring a rather intimidating form of AI called Neuralink.