With the world's attention focused on the Korean Peninsula and the growing threat of global thermonuclear war, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has bigger things to worry about. In a series of 'alarming' tweets on Friday, Musk warned the world should be more worried about the dangers of artificial intelligence than North Korea.
Having unveiled his apocalytpic vision of the world a few weeks ago...
“Until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal,” he said.
“AI is a rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive. Because I think by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late.”
“Normally the way regulations are set up is a while bunch of bad things happen, there’s a public outcry, and after many years a regulatory agency is set up to regulate that industry,” he continued.
“It takes forever. That, in the past, has been bad but not something which represented a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization. AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.”
Musk was quickly admonished by another Silicon Valley billionaire as Mark Zuckerberg suggested Musk is exaggerating, noting:
“I have pretty strong opinions on this. I am optimistic. I think you can build things and the world gets better. But with AI especially, I am really optimistic.
“And I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios — I just, I don't understand it. It's really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.”
And while the feud grows...
Musk took to Twitter to turn the fearmongery amplifier to '11'...
“If you're not concerned about AI safety, you should be. Vastly more risk than North Korea,” he tweeted.
“Nobody likes being regulated, but everything (cars, planes, food, drugs, etc.) that's a danger to the public is regulated. AI should be too,”
If you're not concerned about AI safety, you should be. Vastly more risk than North Korea. pic.twitter.com/2z0tiid0lc— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 12, 2017
Nobody likes being regulated, but everything (cars, planes, food, drugs, etc) that's a danger to the public is regulated. AI should be too.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 12, 2017
His stark warning came at a time when the US and North Korea remain on heightened alert amid spiraling tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Earlier this week, both sides degenerated to open threats, demonstrating readiness to use coercive force if provoked to do so.
But Musk appeared to be more frightened by artificial intelligence, a rising phenomenon he is willing to put under control.
We look forward to Mr. Zuckerberg's response.