Vladimir Putin has talked about a great many subjects lately, and artificial intelligence is one of them. The Verge reported that on Friday the Russian president had this to say to students he was speaking to: "Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. ... Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world." Elon Musk took notice. He first tweeted, "It begins," along with a link to the Verge article, and followed it up with a darker pronouncement. "China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo."
The Guardian's take: "The prospect clearly weighs heavily on Musk’s mind, since the SpaceX, Tesla and Boring Company chief tweeted at 2.33am Los Angeles time." Musk continued tweeting on the subject through a series of replies, writing WWIII "may be initiated not by the country leaders, but one of the AI's, if it decides that a prepemptive [sic] strike is most probable path to victory." And also: "Govts don't need to follow normal laws. They will obtain AI developed by companies at gunpoint, if necessary." He also brushed off concerns over the situation with North Korea, recommending that it "be low on our list of concerns for civilizational existential risk. NK has no entangling alliances that wd polarize world into war." Further, he sees a nuke launch as "suicide" for Kim Jong Un as the US and other powers would swoop in and end the regime. (Read more Elon Musk stories.)