Even as top technology firms such as Facebook, Google and Intel are aggressively pushing Artificial Intelligence, billionaire tech executive Elon Musk has once again sounded an ominous warning about AI, this time suggesting that it could be the trigger for a third world war.
His concerns were prompted by a statement made by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday in which he predicted that whoever takes the lead in AI will become the ruler of the world.
Musk, who has vocalized his fear of AI repeatedly, chimed in on the subject at 2:30 am California local time on Monday, clearly showing that such a prospect is giving him sleepless nights.
The Tesla and SpaceX founder has been quite vocal about the negative aspects of the technology. Just last month, he warned in a series of tweets that people should be more concerned with AI than the risk posed by escalating tensions with nuclear-armed North Korea (See: Unbridled AI bigger threat than N Korea, warns Elon Musk).
Musk recently got into a brief verbal dual on this issue with Mark Zuckerberg, who unlike Musk has been a proponent AI.
Musk's latest comments came after Silicon Republic quoted Putin as saying, ''AI is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.
''If we become leaders in this area, we will share this know-how with entire world, the same way we share our nuclear technologies today,'' he added.
In response, Musk Tweeted, ''China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo.''
A further Tweet said, ''May be initiated not by the country leaders, but one of the AI's, if it decides that a prepemptive strike is most probable path to victory.''
In the ongoing tension between North Korea and the US and a potential nuclear warfare, Musk commented, ''NK launching a nuclear missile would be suicide for their leadership, as SK, US and China wd invade and end the regime immediately.''
Musk last month, joined 115 signatories who wrote to the United Nations (UN) saying lethal autonomous weapons threaten a "third revolution in warfare".
The letter urged the UN and its Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems to ''to work hard at finding means to prevent an arms race in these weapons, to protect civilians from their misuse and to avoid the destabilising effects of these technologies.''
''Once developed, lethal autonomous weapons will permit armed conflict to be fought at a scale greater than ever, and at timescales faster than humans can comprehend,'' the letter read. ''These can be weapons of terror, weapons that despots and terrorists use against innocent populations, and weapons hacked to behave in undesirable ways. We do not have long to act.
"Once this Pandora's Box is opened, it will be hard to close'' (Musk, 115 other experts warn against military use of AI)