Tech billionaire Elon Musk said Monday that the proliferation of technology reliant on artificial intelligence (AI) could potentially lead to a third World War.
Americans should be more concerned about a possible unchecked, international AI race than a nuclear-powered North Korea, Musk said on Twitter. His warnings mirror those from Russian President Vladimir Putin in August.
“China, Russia, soon all countries [with] strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo,” Musk tweeted. He made similar comments about the threat that AI poses to Americans, but the electric vehicle maker’s Monday tweet ratcheted up the rhetoric.
Musk, who does not have any experience in analyzing foreign policy issues, added that North Korea “should be low on our list of concerns for civilizational existential risk,” and said that the Communist country has “no entangling alliances that [would] polarize world into war.”
The warnings could be a well-manufactured publicity stunt meant to generate a renewed push for more regulations on new technologies. Musk has repeatedly urged Congress and public utility groups to administer a wave of regulations and rules meant to corral technological advancements.
Musk founded the anti-AI nonprofit group, OpenAI, which recently developed a simulation showing how a robot can predict where human players deploy military forces and improvise on the spot. The game that OpenAI created shows how AI can be better and faster at tactical thinking than humans.
Putin recently mirrored some of Musk’s comments, telling students during an August speech that “artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all of mankind,” according to a Sept. 1 report.
“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,” Putin said.
Companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple are the primary companies using AI, but some analysts believe that technological advancements in the military field could mean that AI-powered weapons might be the next step in the evolution of warfare.
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