Elon Musk on AI: Humanity’s Biggest Threat?

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Who’d think one of the founders of OpenAi, the creators of ChatGPT, would be one of modern Artificial Intelligence’s greatest critics?

Elon Musk, the (especially recently) loud and controversial billionaire, has more knowledge and experience in the realm of artificial intelligence than a vast, vast majority of people. Alongside other billionaires such as Bill Gates, he is also significantly more aware of the dangers, problems, and consequences that come with the use of widespread, unregulated AI such as ChatGPT.

This article will delve into Elon Musk’s history with AI, as well as his opinions and philosophy on the topic. By taking a look at his various initiatives in the development of artificial intelligence, we’ll also analyze his concerns regarding artificial intelligence, its lack of regulations, and the future of technology.

One thing is clear: regardless of his tweet-storms regarding its and whatsits, Musk truly understands the dangers of artificial intelligence.

The Revolutionary Elon Musk on AI – A Unique Perspective

If you’ve lived under a rock for the past couple of decades, here’s a quick scoop on the history of this little over-the-top eccentric billionaire:

Elon Musk on AI

Labeled as a visionary entrepreneur, inventor, and engineer, Elon Musk is known for groundbreaking work in the fields of electric cars, space exploration, and renewable energy. Originally from South Africa, he moved to the US in the late ’80s to snag a degree from the University of Pennsylvania (Go blue! – no wait, that’s the other one).

With both a physics and economics degree safely stored in his pocket, he co-founded an online city guide called Zip 2 that he sold for just about $300 million. Then more famously co-founded PayPal, which pretty much revolutionized online payments forever. He then sold that to eBay for a whopping 1.5 billion. I can’t even sell my used bike on eBay for $100 so I personally find this incredibly impressive.

In the last couple of decades, Musk has been more famously known as the co-founder of Tesla, which focuses on electric cars, solar panels, and energy storage systems. CEO of SpaceX, a private space exploration company. Neuralink, which works on developing brain-machine interfaces, and The Boring Company, which builds underground transportation systems.

More importantly for our topic, though, Elon Musk was one of the co-founders of OpenAI (2015), which is the company behind the revolutionary ChatGPT that has managed to take over the world in a very short span of time. He then left only 3 years later, after severe disagreements with the company’s development. Which, when looking at his views on the topic, makes a lot of sense.

Falcon 9 launch from Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station
Space X’ Falcon 9 launch from Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

Before I talk more about his involvement and fears regarding Artificial Intelligence, I want to make sure I don’t downplay the fact that this guy definitely lands in the “crazy eccentric” billionaire category. As one sometimes does.

Some of my favorite examples include:

Calling a British diver who helped rescue a youth soccer team from a flooded cave in Thailand a “pedo guy” on Twitter, which then resulted in a defamation lawsuit.

Threatening to take Tesla private and had saying that he had “funding secure” which led to a massive investigation by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). Ended up settling.

A wild love-drama and strangely named kids (the name X Æ A-Xii being my personal favorite) with B-list celebrity and pop star Grim.

Buying Twitter, then trying to not buy Twitter, then having to buy it anyways, laying off 70% of the workforce, and then getting into some wildly entertaining debates in various Twitter threads with both his employees.

None of this, however, takes away from the fact that Musk has gotten to where he is for a reason. Sometimes being smart comes with a little crazy. Or a lot of crazy. Either way, he understands Artificial Intelligence more than most, and as a result, his philosophy and takes is one to be accredited and taken seriously.

And the more seriously you take him, the scarier the prospect of AI becomes.

Elon Musk’s Concerns about AI: A Call for Responsible Development

As I mentioned earlier, Musk was one of the initial founders of OpenAI which resulted in ChatGPT, but ended up leaving just a few years later due to disagreements on how the company and technology were developing. Exactly what those are we don’t know, but it’s easy to speculate based on his very vocal AI opinions over the last few years.

Elon Musk has been a very outspoken critic of AI, particularly when it comes to the dangers regarding widespread and unregulated models out in the open market. In a 2014 MIT interview, Musk said that “AI is the biggest existential threat we face as a civilization” and that “we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s that.”

For the most part, a lot of Musk’s worries seem to be centralized around the weaponization of AI. One of the biggest controversies OpenAI was under flack of before, was the software they created back in 2016 that demonstrated how easy it was to create authentic-looking fake news that could go viral with the use of AI. A demonstration that then sparked a bunch of actual fake news.

Daily fake news

Musk expressed concerns about how AI similar to the example above, will be used as a weapon. Imagine what that sort of power can do in the hands of the wrong people. Hostile nations, terrorist groups, and others who are seeking to break down the very democracy of our country now has an easy way in.

In his very famous and controversial pot-smoking interview with Joe Rogan back in 2018, Musk states hat “we should be very careful about AI. If you create something that is smarter than you, it will eventually realize that it’s smarter than you and it will take over.

A lot of Musk’s main philosophical views surrounding AI are in regard to regulations, or rather, the lack thereof. “There needs to be regulatory oversight, at the national and international level to make sure we don’t do something very foolish“.

Reality is that personal privacy is being stripped away from all citizens of the western world. It is one of the most dangerous aspects of AI, yet nothing seems to be done about it. Learn how you can be aware of AI’s invasion of your privacy in our article: “The Modern-Day Plague – 5 Ways AI Is Invading Your Privacy Right Now

What about the Implications?? The Implications!!

Musk is an incredibly loud proponent of regulated AI, and so am I. Yet, at the moment – AI and its developing technology aren’t being regulated at all. Literally anyone can access OpenAI’s ChatGPT4 right this second.

People can create apps, access the code, and use it for commercial and non-commercial use, and barring a few filters to prevent the robot from using swear words, the open reliance and access granted to this unknown and understudied technology is both staggering and scary.

Regulations book. Law, rules and regulations concept.

At the current rate, access to AI without any form of congressional regulation combined with the public’s limited knowledge of the subject is downright petrifying. We are at a point where nobody can differentiate between real and fake, and that is going to have severe consequences in both civil and political fields on the national and world stage.

In agreement with Musk, this apprehension and learning of the repercussions humanity will experience due to AI are precisely why I created my blog and services that you see at aiconsequences.com.com. When reading content, it’s exceptionally important to me that what I am consuming isn’t just regurgitated information from a witless robot. Especially when that information is produced by a technology previously used for the production of fake news.

Human-made content has a significantly higher value than AI-made content, especially when one is aware of the dangers that artificial content can pose down the line. That is why there is access to free “human created” icons on the main page for one to download, so anyone can also have a binding statement and promise to their readers and consumers that, just like them, their content is not built with AI.

Musk, like us, is aware of the severe consequences that all of humanity is going to have to face as a result of the widespread use of AI. Currently, what I don’t really think Musk has accounted for enough, is that people’s general opinions on view on AI are way too positive.

Despite all the “critical thinking” people are learning in school these days, everyone seems to be blindly following this new technology like the second coming of Christ, and that is why it is so incredibly dangerous.

If AI technologies and software aren’t regulated, and the masses aren’t in the know, how are we going to protect ourselves and our children?

“With artificial intelligence, we’re summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon. Doesn’t work out.”

Elon Musk: An AI Hypocricy

Despite his loud statements against the development of AI, such as starting entire movements to halt its development — Musk will always, in the end, be like all the other billionaires: ready the end the world with AI in a heartbeat if it means he can be even richer.

As of May 23rd, 2023 Musk teased an upcoming project, and seem to be starting OpenAI’s competitor. “I think there should be a significant third horse in the race here,” Musk says.

This means that even though Elon repeatedly talks about the dangers of AI, how it needs to be regulated, halted and controlled – he is more than happy to join in on the fun if he sees opportunity for more wealth.

Protect Yourself and Humanity from the Dangers of AI

There is no doubt that Elon Musk has a deep understanding of the implications, dangers, and consequences associated with artificial intelligence. He sees that regulation is required for responsible use, but this regulation is not in place- and besides leaving OpenAi, we do not see him following up on the need for this form of regulation (he is currently doing a lot of work with AI in relation to Tesla and SpaceX).

Without proper regulations or public awareness about AI, humanity is going to face serious consequences and a full-on existential crisis down the line. The widespread adoption of the technology without actually understanding the potential risks involved in an age-old story that we do not seem to learn.

It is so crucial that we are aware of these risks and do our part to make sure we don’t let AI become the uncontrollable demon that Musk fears it will be. We have to educate ourselves on these topics to ensure we make the smartest decisions possible so that we can protect ourselves from the harm that misuse and overuse of this powerful tool will be.

Stay educated, stay knowledgeable, and never avoid the truth – even if it means learning that our toys are dangerous.


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