Elon Musk thinks AI will be the cause of World War III


elon musk
Elon
Musk, founder, CEO and lead designer at SpaceX and co-founder of
Tesla, speaks at the International Space Station Research and
Development Conference in Washington, U.S., July 19,
2017.

REUTERS/Aaron P.
Bernstein


Elon Musk, the billionaire entrepreneur who cofounded
companies like PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX, has once again warned
that artificial intelligence (AI) poses a threat to humanity’s
existence.

This time he tweeted that it could lead to the third world war
after Russian president Vladimir Putin told a group of
students
last week that the country with the best AI will be
“the ruler of the world.”

Musk tweeted out a story on Putin’s comments and added:
“Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely
cause of WW3 imo.”

Musk has repeatedly warned about doomsday AI scenarios
despite the fact no one really knows how advanced the technology
will become or who will look to harness it and how.

The smartest self-thinking machines today are still unable to
perform more than one task and they still have limited use. An AI
might be able to learn how to play a board game, for example, but
the same AI can’t learn how to spell or how to perform an
operation. This is one of the major limitations with AI at
present.

Several AI experts, including Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis
and Skype cofounder Jaan Tallinn, believe that machines
will eventually learn how to excel at a number of tasks
,
outsmarting humans and becoming “superintelligent” in the
process. But the timescale for this varies wildly from around
30-50 years right up to over 100 years.

Musk has over 12 million followers on Twitter and there’s a risk
that his comments could lead result in policy makers putting the
brakes on AI development just as it’s starting to take off. That
would be a shame given AI has enormous potential to improve our
lives. Companies operating in the field believe that it can
harnessed to make new life-saving drugs and cut the amount of
energy used across entire nations.

It’s fair to say that there are a number of far more pressing
issues that humanity needs to contend with, including the
prospect of a nuclear war on the Korean peninsula and mitigating
the effects of climate change, which is already claiming
thousands of lives through major weather events.

There are efforts underway to ensure that AI remains safe and of
benefit to humanity. The Partnership on AI, for example — a
collaboration involving Microsoft, Amazon, Google, DeepMind and
others — is working together to try and determine things like
whether it’s possible to programme an AI with a set of ethics
(and what those ethics should be) and how to prevent AI from
being exploited by terrorists and other groups.

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