Elon Musk has said before he's less worried about North Korea and far more concerned about the future of artificial intelligence. Now he has reaffirmed those fears, saying AI might cause a far greater threat to humanity — World War 3.
Elon Musk: Artificial Intelligence Will Start World War 3
Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, is alarmed. The soft-spoken businessman-engineer thinks AI can lead the world to its third major war. The first two wars were bloody, chaotic, and killed many people along its path. The third, as Musk sees it, might be a bit different.
His fears were in response to Russian president Vladimir Putin saying "artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind."
"It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world," said Putin.
Musk thinks government fighting to develop the most advanced AI will cause an overwhelming existential crisis for society. Musk said China, Russia, and all countries with strong computer science development will compete for AI superiority.
China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2017
But even more so, he fears that AI might decide for itself that the clearest path to victory is a preemptive strike. That notion essentially means a complete World War that's automated and decided by computers, which presents an even more troubling possibility: what if countries mask their attacks with this reason?
Elon Musk Is Worried About Artificial Intelligence In General
Musk has frequently been vocal about his worries over AI, stating in July that it's perhaps "the greatest risk we face as a civilization." Musk called for government intervention in AI development at the time.
Last month, Musk became one of more than 100 signatories seeking a United Nations-led ban of lethal autonomous weapons, saying these armor can be hacked to behave in undesirable ways, such as causing terror against innocent populations.
Now there's still a chance Musk can be wrong, but his fears are far more sophisticated than random ramblings — think of them as thought experiments, for instance. What would happen if AI evolves to a certain degree where it can decide the best methods of winning a battle? For now, Musk's cautionary tales might sound merely fictional for some skeptics, and they may very well be right in the end. Still, it's worth looking into the possibilities Musk has presented if only to make sure it never occurs.