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).”
China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 4 September 2017
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".
May be initiated not by the country leaders, but one of the AI's, if it decides that a prepemptive strike is most probable path to victory— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 4 September 2017
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.
NK launching a nuclear missile would be suicide for their leadership, as SK, US and China wd invade and end the regime immediately— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) 4 September 2017
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”.