Musk Issues New Stark Warning on How AI Could Impact Humanity

May 26th, 2023 7:05 PM

Elon Musk is once again warning about the dangers that unchecked artificial intelligence poses to humanity.

Musk cautioned that AI is a “double-edged sword” in a recent interview with Thorold Barker at The Wall Street Journal's CEO Council Summit. 

"I don’t think that AI's going to try to destroy all of humanity, but it might put us under strict controls," Musk said. He added that “there’s a small chance of it going Terminator" or “annihilating humanity” as the technology continues to develop. But alluded that it is more likely that AI will be “assuming control over the safety of all the humans” and become a kind of “uber nanny.” 

Musk noted how these dangers of AI could affect human growth. "There is a risk that advanced AI either eliminates or constrains humanity's growth," he said at the conference, calling the technology a "double-edged sword.”

He also said AI’s potential to manipulate elections is a threat that should be taken seriously.

“There probably will be attempts to use AI to manipulate the public and some of it will be successful and if not this election, for sure the next one,” he said. 

The Twitter owner speculated that enhanced artificial generative intelligence that generates its own content is only three to six years away.“[A]rguably we are on the event horizon of the black hole that is artificial superintelligence,” Musk said. 

Musk has called for more government regulation and a moratorium on AI development, despite the fact that he continues to profit from its development himself. He was one of the founders of OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT, and recently founded X.AI, a new AI company. Musk’s company Tesla also continues to thrive off of AI development.

“I've been pushing hard for a long time. I met with a number of senior senators and Congress, people of Congress, in the White House to advocate for AI regulation, starting with an insight committee that is formed of independent parties as well as perhaps participants from the leaders in the industry,” he said. 

The majority of Americans seem to agree with Musk’s warnings. 

A Quinnipiac University Poll released this week found that 54 percent of Americans think AI could be dangerous for humanity while 31 percent responded they think it will help humanity. Among those who are employed, 24 percent responded they are very concerned or somewhat concerned AI could end up replacing their jobs.  

“Will AI, be a force for good or a vehicle of destruction? With the exception of the youngest Americans, hands down, Americans think the latter,” Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy said of the results.  

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