Elon Musk is Legitimately Worried About a Robot Apocalypse


If anyone has the authority to make us worried that a Terminator-esque robot uprising is possible it’s the founder of SpaceX and cofounder of Tesla, the entrepreneur Elon Musk.

In a private email sent to Edge.org owner John Brockman (accidentally shared without Musk’s consent), Musk responded to a post titled ‘The Myth of AI‘ penned by virtual reality pioneer Jaron Lanier, which discussed how the continued advancements made in the field of artificial intelligence could eventually spell bad news for humanity. Musk wrote: “The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. Unless you have direct exposure to groups like Deepmind, you have no idea how fast-it is growing at a pace close to exponential.

Also See: Elon Musk’s SpaceX is Using Satellites to Bring Incredibly Cheap Internet to Everyone

“The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most. This is not a case of crying wolf about something I don’t understand.

“I am not alone in thinking we should be worried. The leading AI companies have taken great steps to ensure safety. The recognize the danger, but believe that they can shape and control the digital superintelligences and prevent bad ones from escaping into the Internet. That remains to be seen…”

That this is coming from the mouth of Musk, a man who is soon set to launch micro-satellites into the Earth’s atmosphere in order to provide cheaper Internet for everyone, marks a huge public shift in opinion when it comes to the progression of artificially intelligent technology from those in the know.

Musk had previously said that if advanced artificial intelligence were to go rogue, it would be comparable to humanity unleashing a “demon.” The entrepreneur said: “With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like, ‘Yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon.’ Doesn’t work out.”

Photo of Elon Musk: Getty Images