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Ruminating on the Robot Takeover

The last time that Good Guy Elon Musk graced the PR/PR blog, it was in admiration of his singular battle against one of mankind’s greatest threats: traffic. As you’ll recall, Musk, so annoyed by Los Angeles’ freeway gridlock, embarked on a journey to create a network of subterranean tunnels so his commute was free of frustration.

What a guy.

This time, however, he’s setting his sights a bit higher: the preemptive liberation of humanity from its forthcoming robot overlords.

Speaking at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting on Saturday, Musk pondered the future of artificial intelligence (AI), and issued a stern warning to other tech CEOs: slow down or we’re all dead.

“I have exposure to the most cutting-edge AI and I think people should be really concerned about it,” he 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.

“I think we should be really concerned about AI and I think we should… AI’s a rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive. Because I think by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late.”

Musk went on to brand AI as a “fundamental risk to human civilization.” Quite the message to deliver to the NGA.

Now I’m not the particularly paranoid type, but I’ve played Horizon Zero Dawn and happen to agree with him. Technology over the past twenty years has hit warp speed in terms of the pace of innovation. Musk may be a bit dramatic in his delivery, but his point is salient and well-received: we should fully understand the scope and possibilities of new technology before it is unleashed on the public.

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