Elon Musk of Tesla had a grim warning for attendees of a bipartisan event in Rhode Island this weekend. He warned attendees of the National Governors Association to regulate robots, calling them an “existential threat” to humans.
Tesla’s CEO, who is usually on the side of anti-regulation, said that while some regulations are unnecessary, he feels artificial intelligence (AI) is dangerous and must be addressed.
“Until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal,” Musk said, according to a Re/code report. “AI is a rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive.”
Musk advised politicians that outperforming robots will take human jobs, and could even cause global wars.
“I think people should be really concerned about it,” Musk reportedly said. “I keep sounding the alarm bell.”
Some critics of Musk’s warnings say they are a strategic sales tactic, meant to benefit his business. Still, curious politicians wondered how Musk would go about regulating a relatively new industry that only poses a hypothetical threat.
“The first order of business would be to try to learn as much as possible, to understand the nature of the issues,” Musk said.
He said that while regulations are usually in place because bad things already happened, that would take too long in this case. Musk said lawmakers usually wait for ” a public outcry,” and that it takes years for a regulatory agency to be set up.
“That, in the past, has been bad, but not something which represented a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization” Musk continued, stressing the need for a proactive approach. “AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.”
You can watch Musk’s full interview here, about 43 minutes in:
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