Feeds

HUMAN RACE PERIL: Not nukes, it'll be AI that kills us off, warns Musk

SpaceX supremo warns 'we need to be super careful' after pumping $40m into it

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Multibillionaire tech ace Elon Musk has a bee in his bonnet about the threat to humanity from ... artificial intelligence. And since he's a major investor in the technology, he ought to know.

Musk's fears, as he suggests in other book recommendations, are that once mankind invents a working AI system, the computers may well decide we're surplus to requirements – and dump us faster than a corporate getting rid of a legacy POTS exchange.

The idea is much beloved by speculative fiction writers and some serious technologists, in terms of predicting doom and those who take the opposite view – such as Iain M. Banks who suggested in Culture that sentient computers would look after their creators and let them lead cosseted existences.

Musk's comments are slightly concerning, however, given he is directly involved in the machine intelligence business. In March, the SpaceX and Tesla supremo, along with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, pumped $40m into AI software firm Vicarious – which is seeking to virtualize the neocortex of a human brain so that computers can develop their own intelligence.

Like Jeff Hawkins' own neocortex-like software, Vicarious's designs are strikingly different to classic neural network models of the brain.

In his book Singularity is near, futurologist Ray Kurzweil estimates that, by 2045, an AI whose intelligence outstrips its human creators will emerge as a result of breakthroughs in the way we implement powerful digital grey matter.

Musk is in a position to know what's going on based on his close involvement in the scene. Maybe it's time to take a leaf out of William Gibson's 30-year-old AI masterpiece Neuromancer and create a Turing police who would drop a digital nine in the dome of any potential AI system. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.