Elon Musk Tweets That Competition for AI Could Lead to World War III

This is not the first time he has warned that AI poses a threat to human existence.

September 5, 2017 9:53 am

Elon Musk has once again warned that artificial intelligence (AI) poses a threat to human existence. This time, he did it through a tweet.

The billionaire entrepreneur, who co-founded companies like PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX, tweeted that competition for artificial intelligence could lead to the third world war after Russian president Vladimir Putin told a group of students that the country with the best AI will be the “ruler of the world,” reports Business Insider

Musk tweeted out the link to the story and added: “Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo.”

This is not the first time Musk has warned about the “doomsday AI scenarios,” writes Business Insider, even though no one knows yet how advanced the technology will become or who will look to harness it and how.

One major limitation of current-day artificial intelligence is that they are unable to perform more than one task, and they still have limited use, Business Insider reports.

Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn believe that machines will eventually learn how to excel at some tasks, according to Business Insider, making them smarter than humans and “superintelligent.” But there is no timeline for that, and the projections vary widely from 30-50 years to 100 years.

Business Insider worries that Musk’s tweet could have repercussions in the AI world. He has over 12 million followers 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.”

Business Insider also writes that there are efforts underway to ensure that artificial intelligence remains “safe and of benefit to humanity,” such as the Partnership on AI — a collaboration involving Microsoft, Amazon, Google, DeepMind and others. They are working together to try and determine how to program an AI with a set of ethics, and what those ethics should be.

Artificial intelligence has “enormous potential to improve our lives,” writes Business Insider. For example, some companies believe it can be harnessed to make new life-saving drugs and cut the amount of energy used across entire nations.

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