Elon Musk Says A.I. Research May Be 'Summoning The Demon'

Elon Musk is no Luddite, but that doesn’t mean he’s eager to embrace all new technology.

“I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence,” the CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla, said Friday in a talk at MIT in Cambridge, Mass. “If I were to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that.”

During his talk–given in conjunction with the centennial celebration of the university’s Aeronautics and Astronautics Department–Musk urged government authorities to regulate A.I. to prevent researchers from doing “something very foolish.”

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

This isn’t the first time Musk has expressed concerns over A.I. In an interview with The Huffington Post in January, he said, “I hope the A.I. is nice to us.” And earlier this year, he wrote in a tweet that artificial intelligence is “potentially more dangerous than nukes.”

Among those who seem to share Musk’s concerns is celebrated physicist Stephen Hawking.

“Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history,” Hawking said in a Huffington Post blog post co-written by physicists Max Tegmark and Frank Wilczek and computer scientist Stuart Russell. “Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks.”

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