I’ve got some bad news, folks. The impending robot apocalypse we’ve been worried about? Yeah, it’s going to happen sooner than we previously thought. At least it is if Elon Musk’s recent prediction regarding the advancements being made in artificial intelligence come true. Hope you’re ready for some real life Westworld stuff to start happening. Which in a weird way makes sense since Musk’s ex-wife (twice) Talulah Riley played a killer robot on the show.
That’s right. The same guy who is working on a chip that will let you stream music directly into your brain (what could possibly go wrong with that?), and once called the commercialization of artificial intelligence “our biggest existential threat,” thinks our days as the smartest species on the planet are very numbered.
We’re so screwed, and we have no one to blame other than ourselves.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Musk explained how he sees artifical intelligence overtaking humans in the near future.
Mr. Musk was painted as a Luddite, “hysterical” in the estimation of Mr. Zuckerberg, for what his friends called “Elon’s crusade,” his proselytizing that we should figure out safety features for A.I. before it gets smarter than us.
He may not be as fortissimo about it, but he still feels passionately about “the A.I. warning drama game,” as he dryly put it. In the past, talking about A.I. turning on us, he has used the Monty Python line, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.”
“My assessment about why A.I. is overlooked by very smart people is that very smart people do not think a computer can ever be as smart as they are,” he told me. “And this is hubris and obviously false.”
He adds that working with A.I. at Tesla lets him say with confidence “that we’re headed toward a situation where A.I. is vastly smarter than humans and I think that time frame is less than five years from now. But that doesn’t mean that everything goes to hell in five years. It just means that things get unstable or weird.”
He said his “top concern” is DeepMind, the secretive London A.I. lab run by Demis Hassabis and owned by Google. “Just the nature of the A.I. that they’re building is one that crushes all humans at all games,” he said. “I mean, it’s basically the plotline in ‘War Games.’”
Musk is right. That… sounds bad.
Read more about Musk’s thoughts on the future of artificial intelligence, and about a dozen other topics, over at the New York Times.
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