Many people would assume that Elon Musk is a supporter of artificial intelligence (A.I.). The business magnate and CEO of SpaceX is largely known for his interest in space transport services. Yet, for a person who wants to eventually die on Mars, he is ironically against A.I., convinced that it will eventually become a threat to mankind.
In a comment posted on Edge.org, Musk warned the public that developments in artificial intelligence could potentially lead to an apocalypse – something straight out of the movie, the Terminator. While others see it as a benefit for mankind, he argues that intelligent robots may eventually rise up against humanity. In fact, he fears that it could potentially happen soon.
“The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow A.I.) is incredibly fast,” Musk states. “The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five-year time frame; 10 years at most. This is not a case of crying wolf about something I don’t understand.”
Musk has since removed the comment; but not before media outlets picked it up. He continues his thread by mentioning DeepMind Technologies, a British artificial intelligence firm. Ironically, Musk has invested in this company and currently supports another A.I. firm, but for reasons that correspond to his beliefs: he wants to keep an eye on them.
“Unless you have direct exposure to groups like Deepmind, you have no idea how fast it is growing at a pace close to exponential,” Musk said.
But this hasn’t just been a recent concern. In August, Musk mentioned in a tweet that A.I. could be more dangerous than nuclear weapons. Stephen Hawking, the world renowned English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, shares this viewpoint.
‘Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history,’ Hawking said earlier this year in the Independent.
‘Unfortunately, it might also be the last.”
According to Musk, A.I. companies are now recognizing this danger and are working on controlling the “bad” superintelligences “from escaping the Internet.
As to why Musk’s statement was deleted, Business Insider suggests that it may be due to his fear of being mocked for his ‘outlandish predictions.’