Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Elon Musk: we need to regulate AI before 'it's too late'

Elon Musk: we need to regulate AI before 'it's too late'

He stressed out that "robots going down the street killing people" may seem "so ethereal" for people today but not until they would witness it in the future.

"On the artificial intelligence front, I have access to the very most cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it", Musk answered a question during a session with Nevada governor Brian Sandoval.

Speaking at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island this week, Musk spoke to a group of Democratic and Republican governors, urging them to take proactive action to prepare for the rise of AI.

"It takes forever. That, in the past, has been bad but not something which represented a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization", Musk continued.

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There will soon be no need for steering wheels, he added.

'AI is the rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive. He suggested that AI "could start a war by doing fake news and spoofing email accounts and fake press releases, and just by manipulating information". Musk said the surging popularity of AI technologies is a "fundamental risk" the humankind is about to face in the coming years.

Artificial intelligence is a growing field for tech companies, but among futurists and other tech industry figures, the potential unintended consequences of AI are an equally growing concern.

It is a known phenomenon how robots are taking over human employment and according to Musk, going forward AI-enabled robots "will be able to do everything better than us".

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He was clearly not thrilled to make that argument, calling regulation generally "not fun" and "irksome", but he said that in the case of AI, the risks are too high to allow AI to develop unfettered.

The CEO of Tesla Motors and Space X met with a group of U.S. lawmakers to discuss laws around electric autonomous vehicles but also told them they need to act to ensure we avoid welcoming killer robots into the world.

Interviewed by filmmaker Werner Herzgog in 2016 for his film Lo and Behold, Musk outlined an example of how an AI could wreak destruction even if it adhered to its programming. Dowd noted that some Silicon Valley leaders - including Google co-founder Larry Page - do not share Musk's skepticism, and describe AI as a possible force for good. He highlighted that AI recently defeated humans at the game "Go", a feat once thought to be virtually impossible.

Musk's comments come at a point when he himself is exploring a rather intimidating form of AI called Neuralink.

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"In principles, if someone was able to say hack all the autonomous Teslas, they could say - I mean just as a prank - they could say "send them all to Rhode Island" [laugh] - across the United States... and that would be the end of Tesla and there would be a lot of angry people in Rhode Island".

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