When I first heard that Tesla founder Elon Musk equated artificial intelligence to 'summoning the demon', I had to do a double-take. After all, many consider Musk to be nothing short of a genius; he's accomplished many amazing things to prove it. Yet, he really did say this, so is he just trying to rile people up, and see their reactions? Or does he genuinely believe it?
Talking at MIT's Aeronautics and Astronautics Department's Centennial Symposium last week, Musk said, "With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. You know all those stories where there's the guy with the pentagram and the holy water and he's like... yeah, he's sure he can control the demon—it doesn't work out."
Musk of course isn't talking about simple AI, like the AI we see in our video games. He's talking about Skynet-level AI, where software and computerized brains in the wrong hands could really wreak some havoc. For that reason, he thinks there should be some regulatory oversight, to make sure that we don't "do something very foolish".
Worth reading Superintelligence by Bostrom. We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 3, 2014
Despite all that, some might still believe that Musk is being a little unrealistic here, but he does back up his points: "I don't think anyone realizes how quickly artificial intelligence is advancing. Particularly if [the machine is] involved in recursive self-improvement...and its utility function is something that's detrimental to humanity, then it will have a very bad effect."
Of course our little headline tease, was just meant to draw you in but you have to admit, Musk's "demon" reference is interesting, to say the least...