Musk still convinced robots out to get us

18 July 2017 - 08:30 By ©The Daily Telegraph
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors

Artificial intelligence is the "biggest risk we face as a civilisation" and needs to be checked, Elon Musk has warned.

The billionaire technology entrepreneur behind Tesla and SpaceX said there was a risk that "until people see robots go down the street killing people they don't know how to react".

"AI is a rare case where we need to be proactive in regulation," he told a meeting of US governors.

"Normally the way regulations are set up is a whole bunch of bad things happen, there's a public outcry and then agencies set up to regulate that industry.

"AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of civilisation in a way that car accidents, aeroplane crashes, faulty drugs or bad food were not. They were harmful to a set of individuals but they were not harmful to society as a whole."

Unlike many technology bosses, Musk has been a vocal AI sceptic, warning that the potential consequences could outweigh benefits like self-driving cars.

He has repeatedly warned of its dangers, and set up a $1-billion (about R13-billion) research company to try and promote safe development of AI.

Some AI experts have criticised Musk, saying he is warning of a highly unlikely scenario grounded more in science fiction than in reality, although his concerns have been shared by scientists including Stephen Hawking.

"Once there is awareness people will be extremely afraid, as they should be," Musk said.