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Why Elon Musk is comparing artificial intelligence to nukes

Why Elon Musk Is Comparing Artificial Intelligence To Nukes

Billionaire entrepreneur and "real-life Tony Stark" Elon Musk is making headlines with an ominous tweet about the dangers of artificial intelligence. (Via Getty Images)

Musk tweeted Saturday: "Worth reading Superintelligence by Bostrom. We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes."

The first half of that tweet refers to Nick Bostrom, a Swedish philosopher who has written extensively about artificial intelligence, and his book "Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies." (Via TED, Amazon)

According to the summary on Amazon, the book deals with the questions of what happens when artificial intelligence surpasses humans and whether AI will help or hurt us. (Via YouTube / Adam Ford)

In that context, it seems like Musk comes down on the "hurt us" side of that debate with his comparison to nukes, which was quickly picked up by a number of outlets.

Mashable called Musk's tweets a "mini rant" and wrote the tweet about nukes "might be the most controversial technology statement of his career."

And CNET pointed out this isn't the first time Musk has voiced his concerns about the future of AI. He spoke out earlier this summer on CNBC.

"I'd like to keep an eye on what's going on with artificial intelligence. I think there's potentially a dangerous outcome there. ... There's been movies about this, like 'Terminator.'"

Both of those outlets also pointed to futurist and Google exec Ray Kurzweil, seen here in a Vice documentary, as Musk's counterpoint, as Kurzweil sees the development of AI as a good - and inevitable - thing. He told Big Think:

"The bottom line is we are one human machine civilization - this technology has already expanded who we are and is going to go into high gear when we get to the steep part of the exponential."

Musk also comes down on the negative side of that idea - the merger of human and machine - tweeting: "Hope we're not just the biological boot loader for digital superintelligence. Unfortunately, that is increasingly probable."​

So from Musk's perspective, it seems if we're not careful, we're looking at one of two situations:

Either superintelligent future robots wage war to annihilate humanity a la "Terminator," or superintelligent future robots enslave humanity and use us as a battery like in "The Matrix."

Either way, Musk doesn't have much to be fatalistic about as his Tesla electric car franchise is now set to expand with a new battery factory in the U.S.

Related:
Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
Nick Bostrom
Tesla Motors

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1000|Char. 1000  Char.
plybon72 August 05 2014 at 1:22 AM

The sad thing is,, no matter the warnings, somebody, somewhere, will build the problem anyway.

Flag Reply +23 rate up
3 replies
Velocity105 August 05 2014 at 1:34 AM

I would tend to side with Musk. Humans are destructive creatures and if A.I. greatly exceeded our capacities someday it would certainly recognize this and potentially regard us as a threat to it's existence knowing we could pull it's plug or due to our negligence in our stewardship of this planet. Most people here would agree that humans are slowing destroying the world and if A.I. saw that as a threat to it's existence it might feel obliged to wipe out the threat. Same general idea as Stephen Hawking stating "Yes look for extraterrestrials, find them but don't contact them, they may decide they want to take our world from us."

Flag Reply +16 rate up
franzese August 05 2014 at 1:48 AM

Best sci-fi movie in this genre: Forbidden Planet. Produced in 1956, it's amazing and holds up pretty well. "Monsters from the Id."

Flag Reply +12 rate up
6 replies
fred August 05 2014 at 6:51 AM

Can't imagine something more dangerous than radical muslims.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
2 replies
tcellguru fred August 05 2014 at 9:03 AM

I guess You've never been to the mall for the after Thanksgiving sale. The carnage is indescribable, "Oh the humanity"

Flag Reply 0 rate up
garyscheuer fred August 05 2014 at 1:19 PM

Loudmouthed Conservatives with guns?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
2 replies
naked_coach garyscheuer August 05 2014 at 2:05 PM

What color is the sky in your world? Go turn on MSNBC and learn some more helpful hints.

Flag 0 rate up
chuckhalper garyscheuer August 05 2014 at 2:25 PM

Loud mouthed know it all liberals with a vote?

Flag 0 rate up
GB August 05 2014 at 1:49 AM

It isn't as if there's anything we can do to stop it. If it's invented, it'll be used. Period. It's already been invented and it has been gathering intelligence on all of us all along. Facebook is just one of the tools for doing so. People post pictures of everyone they know. They tell everything about themselves. Status updates. Likes. Dislikes. Even sexual preferences. Political and religious ideology. Bias. Geographical location. Smart homes. Cameras everywhere. Everything can be hacked and we ain't seen nothing yet. On the surface, the technology is fantastic, but, the NSA revelations are just the tip of the iceberg. Don't worry. Just relax...this won't hurt one bit. Just a little sting. It's about the size of a grain of rice. They're injecting them already and have been for years. Self driving cars and trains. Auto pilot. Computerized defense systems. Lazer weapons. Drones...with Tazers and weapons. Smart bombs. Smart guns. Northstar in your car. Start/stop/unlock.Medical records.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
3 replies
Wolfman Thomas August 05 2014 at 5:37 AM

just a matter of time till the Islam Muslim terrorists get nuclear weapons and then it will be over for all of us

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1 reply
cardiacbuzz Wolfman Thomas August 05 2014 at 7:40 AM

....and the first to use atomic weapons on human populations were from a so-called Christian nation.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
6 replies
Luna August 05 2014 at 2:50 AM

I heard a few people suggest that if we are smart enough to make AI we are smart enough to control it. That sounds like a reasonable conclusion until you look at what they expect AI to be able to do. Machines that think like a human only 10,000 times faster and 10,000 times smarter. If AI has the capacity to think for itself and make decisions for itself it will decide for itself if it wants to be controlled by humans or not. This would not be the first time humans made something they were not able to control, but it could be the last.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
4 replies
JOSE--USMC--0311 August 05 2014 at 2:44 AM

IF ANYONE WANTS TO BRINK A NUKE TO AMERICA ??? WHAT IS STOPPING THEM ??? OUR BORDERS ARE NOT SECURE...

Flag Reply +7 rate up
6 replies
classikal4all August 05 2014 at 8:25 AM

Optimists invented the airplane. Pessimists invented the parachute. We need both.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
LA is Best August 05 2014 at 7:25 AM

AI is alive and well in the White House!!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
animal2605 LA is Best August 05 2014 at 9:55 AM

WHERE ! ? What I see is all too human there.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Jeremiah LA is Best August 05 2014 at 3:16 PM

The WH exudes artificial stupidity.

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