Tesla founder Elon Musk believes artificial intelligence could prove to be one of the most destructive technological innovations for the human race, unless governments are “proactive” in regulation.
Speaking at the National Governors Association in Rhode Island, Musk ominously suggested we could be facing a future in which intelligent machines actually destroy mankind.
“AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization in a way that car accidents, airplane crashes, faulty drugs or bad food were not. They were harmful to a set of individuals in society of course, but they were not harmful to society as a whole,” Musk told Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval on Saturday.
After earlier advising politicians that outdated laws need to be relaxed in order to facilitate innovation, Musk admitted that he favors government regulation when it comes to robot technology.
“I think we should be really concerned about AI. AI is [the] rare case in which we have to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive,” he said.
“By the time we are reactive, it’s too late. Normally the way regulation works out is that a whole bunch of bad things happen, there’s public outcry and after many years a regulatory agency is setup to regulate the industry.”
Asked if robots were likely to replace a large proportion of the workforce in the future, Musk added that the race to develop new technology is not without dangers.
“There will certainly be a lot of job disruption because what’s going to happen is that robots will be able to do everything better than us,” he said.
“This is really the scariest problem to me. I really think we need government regulation because you have companies of are racing, or kind of have to race to build to AI.”
Following lucrative business ventures, such as the $1.5 billion sale of PayPal, Musk has more recently been focusing his efforts on futuristic means of travel.
Last year, Musk said he believed his SpaceX company will be able to ferry people to Mars by 2024, and speaking at the governors’ meeting Saturday, he outlined his visions for future motor travel.
“I think things are going to grow exponentially. There’s a big difference between five and ten years. Probably in ten years more than half of new vehicle production [will be] electric in the US.”
Musk added that having a manually operated vehicle would be as outdated as travelling by horse: “I think almost all cars produced will be autonomous in 10 years. It will be rare to find one that is not.”