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Tesla boss Elon Musk plays down North Korea threat and says AI could lead to World War III

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the Telsa chief executive's remarks about artificial intelligence were “pretty irresponsible".
Elon Musk
Elon Musk said a nuclear bomb attack by North Korea would be suicide for the nation

Tesla Inc. boss Elon Musk has warned that artificial intelligence (AI) could lead to World War III.

In a Twitter post, Musk said: “China, Russia, soon all countries (with) strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 (in my opinion).”

His remarks came on the back of a statement from Russian President Vladimir Putin that AI is the future for "all humankind" and presents “colossal opportunities” but comes with threats that are “difficult to predict”.

“Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world,” Putin had said.

Musk said was not only worried about the possibility of a world leader starting a war, but of one the AIs deciding that "a prepemptive strike is most probable path to victory".

He added that he was less concerned about North Korea launching nuclear missiles, arguing that any action “would be suicide” for the nation. 

North Korea “should be low on our list of concerns for civilizational existential risk,” Musk said in tweet

Musk believes AI is “vastly more risky” than North Korea’s threats.

Musk has previously raised concerns that AI needs to be regulated properly and ensure public safety.

Last month he was one of 116 signatories of an open letter calling for a ban by the United Nations of lethal AI weapons.

“Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend,” the letter read.

“These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. “

“We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”

The series of tweets from Musk about AI drew criticism from Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg who called the comments “pretty irresponsible.”

Musk hit back saying Zuckerberg’s understanding on AI’s responsibility is “limited”.

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