With all that's happening in the world, Elon Musk wants to make sure you don't forget about what he thinks is the biggest danger to humanity.
Over the weekend, Musk returned to tweeting about one of his favorite topics of discussion: artificial intelligence. He referenced the threat of nuclear war with North Korea to help make his point.
If you're not concerned about AI safety, you should be. Vastly more risk than North Korea. pic.twitter.com/2z0tiid0lc-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 12, 2017
Nobody likes being regulated, but everything (cars, planes, food, drugs, etc) that's a danger to the public is regulated. AI should be too.-- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 12, 2017
Musk's tweets came hours after an A.I. system developed by OpenAI defeated some of the world's best players at a military strategy game called Dota 2. According to a blog post by OpenAI, successfully playing the game involves predicting how an opponent will move, improvising in unfamiliar scenarios, and convincing the opponent's allies to help you instead.
OpenAI is the nonprofit artificial intelligence company Musk co-founded along with Peter Thiel and Sam Altman. The company's purpose is to research and develop A.I. and develop best practices to help ensure that the technology is used for good.
Musk has in the past called A.I. humanity's "biggest existential threat." A known A.I. fear monger, he recently got in a brief public spat with Mark Zuckerberg about the danger that the technology poses to humans. Zuckerberg, whose Facebook--like Tesla--invests heavily in artificial intelligence, referred to Musk's prophesizing about doomsday scenarios as "irresponsible." Musk responded on Twitter the next day by calling Zuckerberg's understanding of the topic "limited."
Comparing the threat of A.I. to that of nuclear war with North Korea is clearly a tactic meant to shock, as Musk has been wont to do on this topic. Earlier this year, he laid out a scenario in which A.I. systems meant to farm strawberries could lead to the destruction of mankind.
Even if Musk is speaking in hyperbole, though, it's not hard to see why an A.I. system that outsmarts humans at military strategy might be cause for concern.
Musk's opinions on the technology have been at odds with those of tech leaders like Zuckerberg, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. All have advocated for A.I. in recent years with few, if any, reservations.
While Tesla relies heavily on artificial intelligence in developing self-driving cars, Musk's opinions have been at odds with those of his fellow tech titans. In July, Musk told a group at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Rhode Island that he believes A.I. should be regulated proactively, before the need for such limitations even arise.
"I have exposure to the very cutting-edge A.I.," he said, "and I think people should be really concerned about it."