Elon Musk: ‘Summoning A Demon’ With Artificial Intelligence

This past week, Tesla CEO/Living, Breathing Tony Stark/Space X Founder Elon Musk was interviewed at the MIT AeroAstro Centennial Symposium.

While the whole interview is worth watching (and is embedded above), one answer to a question from the audience takes a particularly intense turn.

Asked about his thoughts on AI, Musk starts by noting that we ought to take care in closely regulating AI development, calling AI our “biggest existential threat.” But wait, there’s more! And by more, I mean demons and holy water.

Musk’s full answer is transcribed below

Musk: I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful with artificial intelligence.

I’m increasingly inclined to think that 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. With artificial intelligence we’re summoning the demon. You know those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram, and the holy water, and he’s like — Yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon? Doesn’t work out. [audience laughs]

Q: So I’ll take it there’ll be no HAL9000 going to mars?

Musk: Heh. HAL 9000 would be easy [to deal with in comparison to the AI he’s talking about]. It’s way more complex… it’d put HAL9000 to shame. That’s like a puppy dog.

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