Elon Musk does not get scared easily. But somehow, the idea of software and machines taking over human creators is making Elon Musk nervous.
Elon Musk wants to send people to Mars. He dreams that all cars will be driving themselves. And he is excited about these changes.
However, he is scared and not-so-excited about artificial intelligence. He has been warning humans about AI for years now. Recently, when he spoke at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Rhode Island, he called as AI the biggest risk that we are facing as a civilisation.
He further mentioned that AI is a rare case where we, as civilisation, need to put proactive regulation rather than being reactive about it. Otherwise, it might be too late.
Until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal.
He continued saying that usually regulations are set up while there are bad things happening, when there’s a public outcry. It is then when regulatory agency is set up to regulate that industry. And then it takes forever to make the regulation. This process has represented as a fundamental risk to the very existence of the civilisation.
Elon Musk has been concerned about AI for years. In spite of that, he is working on technology that would connect the human brain to the computer software which is meant to mimic it.
He even went on record saying that his desire to colonise Mars is actually a backup plan if and when AI takes over the Earth. In addition to his concerns in the past, his recent remarks has reignited the concern. This was evident when multiple governors asked Elon Musk follow up question on his recommendation for the regulation of the industry that is so new and which is at the moment posing hypothetical threats.
To which he cited the recent success of AI in beating humans at the game Go. It was once thought to be nearly impossible. He advised the governors that we would need to try to learn as much as possible of the AI so that we can completely the understand the nature of the issues.
Other than AI, the conversation also covered about the electric vehicles that Tesla is hoping to perfect.
Elon Musk believes the biggest risk to autonomous cars is a fleet-wide hack of the software controlling them. He adds that in 20 years, owning a car that doesn’t drive itself will be the equivalent of someone today owning a horse. This would mean that people who own the non-autonomous cars would the ones with an unusual mode of transport.
You can hear the full interview below –