Elon Musk: Artificial Intelligence Could Create ‘Terminator’

Giuseppe Macri Tech Editor
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Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity entrepreneur Elon Musk is keeping a close eye on artificial intelligence development — not for investment — but for protection against a potential “Terminator”-esque apocalyptic future.

During an interview this week on CNBC Musk said he’s not much of an investor, but he has invested in multiple A.I. startup companies in order to keep track of the potential technological revolution.

“I was also an investor in DeepMind before Google acquired it and Vicarious,” Musk told the network’s Kelly Evans and Julia Boorstin. “Mostly I sort of – it’s not from the standpoint of actually trying to make any investment return. It’s really, I like to just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence. I think there is potentially a dangerous outcome there.”

When asked what type of danger, Musk wasn’t at all shy about dropping his nightmare scenario — killer robots.

“I mean, there have been movies about this, you know, like ‘Terminator.'”

Musk said Vicarious — the company he’s invested in — is “essentially emulating the human brain,” and he wants to make sure the “technology is used for good and not ‘Terminator’-like evil,” as Julia Boorstin put it.

“In the movie ‘Terminator,’ they didn’t create A.I. to — they didn’t expect, you know some sort of ‘Terminator’-like outcome. It is sort of like the ‘Monty Python’ thing: Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition. It’s just — you know, but you have to be careful.”

Evans pointed out the irony of one of the world’s foremost tech entrepreneurs worrying about technology he’s unaware of, and asked what the best possible use for A.I. would be, and what could be done to stop it — if necessary.

“I don’t know. But there are some scary outcomes,” Musk said. “And we should try to make sure the outcomes are good, not bad.”

“Or escape to mars if there is no other option,” Evans said, referring to the new space capsule unveiled by Musk’s SpaceX.

“The A.I. will chase us there pretty quickly,” Musk said.

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Giuseppe Macri