Elon Musk Is Quite Frightened of the Robots Taking Over

He's '[cueing] the scary organ music' on artificial intelligence: 'Vanity Fair'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2017 7:10 PM CDT
Elon Musk Is Quite Frightened of the Robots Taking Over
Don't get Elon a Roomba for his birthday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

While Elon Musk embraces the sci-fi nature of colonizing other planets, he's not exactly a superfan of the sci-fi concept of robot overlords. The CEO of both Tesla and SpaceX is terrified of artificial intelligence, Maureen Dowd reveals in Vanity Fair, and doesn't think Silicon Valley should be jumping so eagerly on the AI bandwagon. In fact, one of the reasons he thinks it's important to set up shop outside of Earth is so we'll have a "bolt-hole" to escape to if "AI goes rogue and turns on humanity," writes Dowd. Musk had even once invested in a London AI lab called DeepMind—not to make a fortune, but to keep a "wary eye" on all things robotic coming out the lab. Musk has been, as Dowd puts it, "[cueing] the scary organ music" about AI in the tech world, even co-founding OpenAI, a billion-dollar nonprofit meant to provide oversight over what he's called man's "biggest existential threat."

That means oversight over his techie friends, including Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet, who Musk thinks could perhaps create "something evil by accident" if he's not careful. Musk even thinks we're only a handful of years away from being able to communicate with our computers and phones via a neural lace (an implanted mesh in our brains). Critics call Musk a "drama queen" and say he's touting such anti-AI bluster just for brand-building purposes. But Ashlee Vance, author of a Musk biography, believes he's sincere. "Elon is brutally logical," he tells Dowd. "When he plays this scenario out in his head, it doesn't end well for people." More at Vanity Fair, including how Mark Zuckerberg has been caught "throwing shade" at Musk over this. (Dowd is one of the few people who's been able to get President Trump to say he's made a mistake.)

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