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Elon Musk says building AI is like ‘summoning the demon’


Elon Musk

Tech magnate Elon Musk has compared working on artificial intelligence to ‘summoning the demon’.

The Tesla CEO and SpaceX founder revealed his deep-seated fears of clever-clogs computing during an interview at MIT.

Responding to a question on how he feels about AI, Musk replied: “I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence.”

“If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful.”

Musk is famous for innovation and investment in tech, but it became clear that AI isn’t something Musk is overly keen on.

“With artificial intelligence we’re summoning the demon,” explained Musk. “You know those stores 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.

The real-life Tony Stark called for regulation over AI research, largely to ensure our entire race isn’t supplanted by overly aggressive logic boards with a chip on their shoulder (punbelievable, we know).

“I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight,” Musk told newly bot-fearing onlookers. “Maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish.”

The South African-born technophile is a hot topic in gadgeteer circles, mainly for his outlandish views.

He’s famously the mind behind Hyperloop, a high-speed transportation system that would see us commuter folk zipping along in tubes at 760mph.

It’s still a concept for now, but there’s a fair chance there won’t be any AI involved if it ever did come to fruition.

Read More: Siri vs Google Now vs Cortana


October 28, 2014, 2:29 pm

Talking about AI is about the same as talking about interstellar travels. Is it good or bad? Doesn't matter! Whatever it is, not only don't we have a working starship, we have no even the fundamental physics needed to build one.

The same is with AI. Any AI we could imagine now will be some kind of computer. However, any device we can think now as a computer, regardless of its processing speed and memory size, will inevitably be an equivalent of Turing Machine -- the so called Church's Thesis.

But Turing Machine, a mathematical construct invented specifically to analyze any computational processes, proved to have some fundamental limitations. For instance, there cannot be a program that can create other programs, even for some quite narrow classes of tasks. We humans somehow do it... But the main limitation of any computer system (a Turing Machine, that it) is that it cannot create information by its own. A computer is always just a transformer of information. Yes, its capabilities can be extended indefinitely by adding new programs. But it cannot create those programs by itself. Human programmers are needed for that.

It is only humans, who create information! But how can we do that? Maybe our brain listens to the cosmos, catches the information emanated from it in the form of entropy.... Anyway, we don't even have a physical theory about that (the same as with interstellar travels).

In the end, Mr. Musk may be right to not invest his money into AI. Without even having a proper understanding of what the intelligence actually is, any such investments will be a waste.

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