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Elon Musk explains why artificial intelligence should scare us to death

Published Oct 27th, 2014 9:50AM EDT
Elon Musk Interview Artificial Intelligence
Image: Wikipedia

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As the CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX, Elon Musk can’t be accused of being an anti-technology luddite. That said, he definitely doesn’t support every major technological advance and in particular he thinks artificial intelligence is extremely dangerous and could end up putting humanity in situations that resemble sci-fi classics such as The Terminator and The Matrix.

RELATED: Elon Musk says we should fear Terminator-style artificial intelligence

Per Engadget, Musk told an MIT symposium last week that artificial intelligence represents “our biggest existential threat” as a species and says that toying with AI is akin to “summoning the demon.”

“We need to be very careful with artificial intelligence,” explained Musk. “I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. With artificial intelligence we’re summoning the demon. You know those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram, and the holy water, and he’s like — Yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon? Doesn’t work out.”

This isn’t the first time Musk has raised fears about developing AI. Over the summer he told CNBC that there’s “potentially a dangerous outcome” to AI research he’s been following and he directly alluded to The Terminator as a plausible future outcome.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.


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