Tesla CEO Elon Musk, a leading mind in the automotive, solar and artificial intelligence industries among others, is concerned about how robots could one day impact human life.
Musk spoke at a National Governors Association meeting in Rhode Island Saturday, touching on subjects ranging from Model 3 exponential production to how artificial intelligence could impact human existence.
“I have exposure to the most cutting edge AI and I think people should be really concerned about it,” Musk said. “I keep sounding the alarm bell, but until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal.”
Part of the issue will be how prevalent AI and robots are in future society. Musk used the example of the transportation industry, a sector that makes up a significant portion of the economy and could be one of the first areas to become fully autonomous.
“Robots will be able to do everything better than us,” Musk said.
He thinks the best way to keep civilization safe is for governments to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to establishing regulation for Artificial intelligence.
“By the time we are reactive, it’s too late,” he said. “There’s a role for regulators that I think is very important and I’m against over regulation for sure, but I think we better get on that with AI.”
Musk helped form OpenAI, a nonprofit research group that supports emerging artificial intelligence technology that is safe and responsible.
Musk’s statements come as companies like Ford, Lyft and Uber race to develop self-driving car technology. Lyft recently set a goal of giving 1 billion autonomous rides by 2025, the type of effort that Musk said could some day be a danger to the industry as a whole.
For Musk, he sees the competition element — the lofty goal setting, the neck-in-neck technology developments — as the ultimate downfall for an industry where getting ahead of what is safe and reasonable could be catastrophic, and all too easy.
Musk clearly outlined for many governors on Saturday that regulators should step in and help companies pump the brakes on speedy AI development.
“AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization,” he warned.