We look at Elon Musk’s take on artificial intelligence in a recent documentary looking at the darker side of AI. (2:50 min read)
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Elon Musk issued a bleak new warning about the growth of artificial intelligence in society. According to Musk, leaving artificial intelligence unregulated may have some dire outcomes for mankind.
Artificial intelligence refresher
Artificial Intelligence is referred to as intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to natural intelligence.
The scientific definition of artificial intelligence describes it as:
“The study of intelligent agents, where an intelligent agent is a system that perceives its environment which maximises its chances of success.”
The term artificial intelligence is applied when a machine mimics cognitive functions that humans associate with their own minds, such as problem solving and learning.
Elon Musk vs Artificial Intelligence
Musk, who stars in and promoted the documentary Do you Trust This Computer? talks about a dystopian future many of us couldn’t begin to imagine.
Musk’s role in the recently released documentary involves looking at the growing public and safety concerns of artificial intelligence. He also paid for the film to be streamed for free in the week of release so everyone could get AI proficient.
He has previously said that an immortal, robot-like dictator could rise from scientific research if strict regulations are not put in place on time. This so-called dictator would have the power to rule mankind forever.
“At least when there’s an evil dictator, that human is going to die. But for an AI, there will be no death – it would live forever. And then you would have an immortal dictator from which we could never escape”.
Musk has always been a critic of artificial intelligence and asked for harsher regulations to curb the technology.
Back in 2014, Musk said artificial intelligence was humanity’s biggest existential threat, later adding that the United Nations needed to act to prevent a killer robot arms race.
In 2015, he joined other experts including the late Stephen Hawking in urging the United Nations to ban killer robots.
Musk recently butted heads with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, an avid AI advocate.
“I’ve talked to Mark about this (AI). His understanding of the subject is limited”.
“I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios – I just, I don’t understand it. It’s really negative and in some ways, I actually think it is pretty irresponsible”.
Is it all doom and gloom?
We don’t like to think so. AI and machine learning is already helping industries become more efficient, enabling more sound decision making. There’s a plethora of evidence to support this worldwide where AI has:
- Reduced electricity usage in Google’s data centres.
- Helped doctors better diagnose diseases and tailor medical treatment.
- Allowed Australian biomedical engineer to create a thought-controlled wheelchair.
Used in the right way, AI can have a positive impact for billions around the globe.
Our outlook on the future of AI
We believe AI will continue to advance. It has a tremendous potential to continue propelling human progress across vast areas of knowledge and practical applications.
Whether it will be developed to the extent Elon Musk fears, is a question of ethics and regulation which should be carefully considered by all.
From an investment perspective, our Big Data Big Fund is well positioned for the expected growth in AI. The fund invests in the infrastructure that enables AI (data centres), the technology companies developing AI (IBM’s Watson) and or simply using it to help deliver a better service to their customers.
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