Musk warning: be afraid, be extremely afraid

Published: 17 July 2017

Elon Musk responds to a question by Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval

Rise of the robots is real

Elon Musk responds to a question by Nevada Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval
Image © 2017 AP via AAP/Stephan Savoia... and The Project

Afraid of technology creeping into your life? Elon Musk thinks you should be.

And he’s not just talking about Facebook autoplaying videos with sound, as annoying as that is.

He’s talking about the complete destruction of the human race.

(Still, how annoying are those autoplaying videos?)

The Tesla CEO has warned a bipartisan gathering of US governors that government regulation of artificial intelligence is needed because it's a "fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation".

That might be one reason why he’s so keen to get space travel happening, so when the robocalypse happens, he can flee to distant planets.

Musk reiterated his long-held argument that regulation is needed soon to protect humanity from being outsmarted by computers, or "deep intelligence in the network" that can start wars by manipulating information.

All we’ve currently been exposed to so far in terms of war-starting information manipulation has been limited by the deep stupidity of human leaders.

But there is no such limit in the realm of the machines.

Pressed for more specific guidance by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, Musk said the first step is for government to get a better understanding of the fast-moving achievements in developing artificial intelligence technology.

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

Musk suggested that entire industries would be replaced by automation.

“Robots will be able to do everything better than us,” he said. “I mean all of us!”

Just last year Musk suggested that there was just a billion-to-one chance that we weren’t already living in a Matrix-style virtual reality simulation. Which does leave us with the comforting conclusion that the world the A.I. will be destroying probably won’t be real anyway.

It will just FEEL exactly like the apocalypse.

Musk spoke broadly about solar energy, space travel, self-driving cars and other emerging technology during a question-and-answer session at the summer conference of the National Governors Association in Rhode Island on Saturday.

He also met privately with some governors, including Louisiana Democrat John Bel Edwards, who recently signed a law that Musk's Palo Alto, California-based company says blocks it from selling electric cars there.

Edwards said Tesla asked for the one-on-one meeting with Musk, which was short.

"I just asked him to come down to Louisiana and sit down with us, sit down with the Louisiana Automobile Dealers Association and work out some sort of a compromise, which they have successfully done in other states," Edwards said.

Allowing manufacturer-to-consumer sales also came up in meetings between Musk and two other governors - the conference's host, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, and Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy. Representatives for the two Democrats confirmed they had private meetings with Musk and the topic came up.

Guess he might as well meet with some humans while they’re still in charge.

with AP
 © 2017 The Associated Press