Inventor Elon Musk appeared on HBO’s Westworld panel at South by Southwest to talk about his rocket, the colonization of Mars and artificial intelligence.
It was the SpaceX’s alarming statement about AI that got people sitting up.
I’m close to AI and it scares the hell out of me. It’s capable of vastly more than anyone knows, and the improvement is exponential.
Musk used the example of AlphaGo, Google DeepMind’s AI program.
The program was pitted against a 2,000 old Chinese game called “Go”. Not only did it defeat every other Go-playing software, but it went on to beat European champion Fan Hui and world champion Lee Sedol four out of five games.
Those experts who think AI is not progressing: look at things like GO. Their batting average is quite weak.
The danger of AI is much greater than the danger of nuclear warheads — by a lot. Mark my words, AI is far more dangerous than nukes.
Elon Musk isn’t the only one to make such dire pronouncements about artificial intelligence. Stephen Hawking recently said AI could be “worst event in the history of our civilization”:
Unless we learn how to prepare for, and avoid, the potential risks, AI could be the worst event in the history of our civilization. It brings dangers, like powerful autonomous weapons, or new ways for the few to oppress the many. It could bring great disruption to our economy.