Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is the furthest thing from a Luddite technophobe we can imagine, but he has nonetheless raised some very legitimate worries about the dangers of artificial intelligence. The Washington Post this week pointed out another fascinating tidbit from Ashlee Vance’s upcoming book on Musk’s life and career in which it’s revealed that Musk is particularly worried about what the company run by his friend Larry Page is working on.
According to the book, Musk is scared that Page and Google could build “a fleet of artificial-intelligence-enhanced robots capable of destroying mankind.” He doesn’t think this is Page’s intention, of course, but he notes that Page could instead “produce something evil by accident.”
This isn’t that crazy of a concern. Along with Musk, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and famed physicist Stephen Hawking have also fretted about the massive potential dangers posted by artificial intelligence. When three of the smartest people in the world are worried about something, it’s probably a good idea to actually be worried about it.
What’s more, we know Google has been investing a lot of money into robotics over the past few years by buying up robotics firms such as Boston Dynamics and Meka to produce robots that can, among other things, outrun the world’s fastest humans. If that doesn’t sound like a recipe for disaster, we don’t know what does.
Vance’s book is called Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future and it will release in hardcover next week on May 19th.