Artificial intelligence (AI) poses the biggest risk to humanity if it is not properly monitored and controlled, according to Tesla founder Elon Musk.
The tech visionary, who is also CEO and CTO of SpaceX, was speaking at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AeroAstro Centennial Symposium when he said that meddling with such matters is akin to summoning demons.
"I think we should be very careful about AI. If I were to guess what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful,” he said.
“With AI we are summoning the demons. 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.”
Given these fears, Musk said that formal oversight of this area is essential.
“Increasingly I’m inclined to 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,” he explained.
Musk has spoken out about AI before, writing on Twitter earlier this year that it is potentially more dangerous than nuclear weapons.
Worth reading Superintelligence by Bostrom. We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 3, 2014
His comments come a few days after Google purchased two Oxford University-based AI startups to help boost its knowledge and skills in this area, as the web firm focuses on developments such as image recognition and natural language understanding.
Technological threats to humanity are of increasing concern to many people. Researchers at the University of Cambridge established a dedicated unit to explore such threats in 2012.
The unit examines the potential "extinction-level" risks posed by the rise of biotechnology, nanotechnology and AI.
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