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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.