Elon Musk: "Regulate AI Before it's Too Late"

Paterniano Del Favero
Luglio 17, 2017

"AI is a fundamental, existential risk for human civilization", Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk said at the National Governors Association summer meeting. In 2014, he likened AI developers to people summoning demons they think they can control.

Musk's biggest concerns are related to the possibility of robots harming humans.

"Probably in 10 years, more than a half of new vehicle production is electric in the United States", said Musk, adding "half of all production will be EV, I think nearly all cars produced will be autonomous". Electric vehicle registrations in 2017 so far are up by 46% from the 5267 registered in 2016, but full EVS still only make up 0.55% of the total number of cars registered across the year so far. And that would be like, well okay, that would be the end of Tesla.

The practice of direct sales to consumers also came up in meetings between Musk and two other governors - the conference's host, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, and Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

Preventing a fleet-wide hack is "pretty fundamental". "Once there is awareness people will be extremely afraid, as they should be". "If the auto is doing something wacky, you can press a button that no amount of software can override and ensure that you gain control of the vehicle and cut the link to the servers". "Even if someone gains access to the vehicle, they can not take control of the powertrain or braking system". He even warned other auto companies that it could become a problem.

Quite simply, he wants "us" and the governments around the world to be aware of the problem.

"I think one of the biggest concern for autonomous vehicles is somebody achieving a fleet-wide hack", he said, then provided a humorous scenario of what hackers could achieve. He again stressed, "I think we should be really concerned about AI". He went further, warning of killer robots roaming the streets.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey did not agree with Musk, stating that such regulations would upset the balance between regulation and entrepreneurship. Specifically, he argued that the possible negative effects of AI on human society can't necessarily be legislated away after they've already begun.

Specifically, Musk thinks that AI can potentially start a war via "fake news and spoofing email accounts and fake press releases, and just by manipulating information", which explains his fear of the technology.

"It would seem to follow that the odds that we're in "base reality" is one in billions", Mr Musk said.

"That, in the past, has been bad but not something which represented a fundamental risk to the existence of civilisation".

At its current rate of growth, and providing the UK's auto industry halts growth, in 12 years' time, EV registrations will equal around half of the total registrations of the United Kingdom, so the growth of the segment would have to accelerate considerably for Musk's prediction to come true.

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