On Tuesday, Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, voiced his concerns about the future of artificial intelligence during an interview on CNBC. SpaceX placed number one on the second annual CNBC Disruptor 50 list because the “company designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.” Musk surprised his interviewers when he mentioned the “potential dangerous outcomes” of artificial intelligence.
“Elon Musk – listen to this – believes it’s feasible a Terminator-like scenario could erupt out of artificial intelligence,” Glenn said on radio this morning. “In an interview with CNBC, Musk says he’s an investor in artificial intelligence company called Vicarious because it’s not like he’s trying to make any money per se, rather he likes to keep an eye on various technological developments like killer robots.”
Below is a partial transcript from the portion of the interview Glenn found most alarming:
BOORSTIN: Now, I have to ask you about a company that you invested in. As you said, you make almost no investments outside of SpaceX and Tesla.
MUSK: Yeah I’m not really an investor.
BOORSTIN: You’re not an investor?
MUSK: Right. I don’t own any public securities a part from SolarCity and Tesla.
BOORSTIN: That’s amazing. But you did just invest in a company called Vicarious. Artificial intelligence. What is this company?
MUSK: Right. I was also an investor in DeepMind before Google acquired it and Vicarious. Mostly I sort of – it’s not from the standpoint of actually trying to make any investment return. It’s really, I like to just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence. I think there is potentially a dangerous outcome there and we need to –
EVANS: Dangerous? How so?
MUSK: Potentially, yes. I mean, there have been movies about this, you know, like Terminator.
EVANS: Well yes, but movies are – even if that is the case, what do you do about it? I mean, what dangers do you see that you can actually do something about?
MUSK: I don’t know.
BOORSTIN: Well why did you invest in Vicarious? What exactly does vicarious do? What do you see it doing down the line?
MUSK: Well, I mean, vicarious refers to it as recursive cortical networks. Essentially emulating the human brain. And so I think –
BOORSTIN: So you want to make sure that technology is used for good and not Terminator-like evil?
MUSK: Yeah. I mean, I don’t think – in the movie Terminator, they didn’t create A.I. to – they didn’t expect, you know some sort of terminator-like outcome. It is sort of like the Monty Python thing. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. It’s just – you know, but you have to be careful. Yeah, you want to make sure that –
EVANS: But here is the irony. I mean, the man who is responsible for some of the most advanced technology in this country is worried about the advances in technology that you are aware of.
Read the full transcript HERE.
“She cuts him off… How do you have a rational conversation with somebody,” Glenn asked. “Elon Musk is no dummy. I mean he may not be right, but he’s no dummy. You [need to] listen to people.”
“Wouldn’t that be the number one person who should be worried about it,” Stu added. “If that person isn’t worried about it, he’s not being responsible. That’s exactly the person who needs to be thinking about these things.”
Just a few months ago, Glenn sat down with Google executives Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen to discuss some of the more invasive technological advances Google is working on. Glenn found himself frustrated after that interview because they kept discounting the theories of someone like Ray Kurzweil, who is employed by Google. This interview with Musk, in Glenn’s opinion, had a similar tone.
“That’s my point with Ray Kurzweil every time. Aren’t you concerned about this,” Glenn asked. “I mean that’s a fascinating interview. And the way they are dismissing it – these people are… just imbeciles, people who are going to be remembered as morons… Stop dismissing it.”
Watch the entire interview with Musk below courtesy of CNBC:
Front Page image: The Summit 2013 – Picture by Dan Taylor / Heisenberg Media – www.heisenbergmedia.com