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Elon Musk: Yes, we should fear Terminator-style artificial intelligence

Published Jun 18th, 2014 4:45PM EDT
Elon Musk on artificial intelligence: afraid of Terminator

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Elon Musk doesn’t invest in many companies, but when he does, you should probably pay attention, especially when that company is an artificial intelligence company. In a wide-ranging interview with CNBC, Musk said that pretty much the only companies he invests in are SpaceX, Tesla, SolarCity, and an artificial intelligence company called Vicarious. Why invest in artificial intelligence?

“I like to just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence. I think there is potentially a dangerous outcome there,” Musk told CNBC. “I mean, there have been movies about this, you know, like Terminator.”

Musk went on to say that he doesn’t know what to expect will be the result of artificial intelligence.

“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,” Musk said. “But you have to be careful.”

Not much is known about Vicarious right now. On its website, it says it is “building a unified algorithmic architecture to achieve human-level intelligence in vision, language, and motor control.” Vicarious also boasts some high-profile investors, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang, and actor Ashton Kutcher.