Elon Musk believes it is feasible a ‘Terminator’ like scenario could erupt out of an artificial intelligence.
In an interview with CNBC Tuesday evening, Musk said he’s an investor in an artificial intelligence company called Vicarious — but not because he’s trying to make any money per se. Rather, it’s because he likes to “keep an eye on” various technological developments.
Like killer robots.
Here’s the full exchange, with the network’s Kelly Evans and Julia Boorstin leading the discussion.
JULIA BOORSTIN: Now, I have to ask you about a company that you invested in. As you said, you make almost no investments outside of SpaceX and Tesla.
ELON MUSK: Yeah I’m not really an investor.
JB: You’re not an investor?
EM: Right. I don’t own any public securities apart from SolarCity and Tesla.
JB: That’s amazing. But you did just invest in a company called Vicarious Artificial Intelligence. What is this company?
MUSK: Right. I was also an investor in DeepMind before Google acquired it and Vicarious. Mostly I sort of — it’s not from the standpoint of actually trying to make any investment return. It’s really, I like to just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence. I think there is potentially a dangerous outcome there and we need to —
KE: Dangerous? How so?
EM: Potentially, yes. I mean, there have been movies about this, you know, like ‘Terminator.’
KE: Well yes, but movies are — even if that is the case, what do you do about it? I mean, what dangers do you see that you can actually do something about?
MUSK: I don’t know.
JB: Well why did you invest in Vicarious? What exactly does Vicarious do? What do you see it doing down the line?
MUSK: Well, I mean, Vicarious refers to it as recursive cortical networks. Essentially emulating the human brain. And so I think —
JB: So you want to make sure that technology is used for good and not Terminator-like evil?
MUSK: Yeah. I mean, I don’t think — in the movie “Terminator,” they didn’t create A.I. to — they didn’t expect, you know some sort of Terminator-like outcome. It is sort of like the Monty Python thing: Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition. It’s just — you know, but you have to be careful. Yeah, you want to make sure that —
KE: But here is the irony. I mean, the man who is responsible for some of the most advanced technology in this country is worried about the advances in technology that you aren’t aware of.
KE: I mean, I guess that is why I keep asking, So what can you do? In other words, this stuff is almost inexorable, isn’t it? How if you see that there are these brain-like developments out there can you really do anything to stop it?
MUSK: I don’t know.
JB: But what should A.I. Be used for? What’s its best value?
MUSK: I don’t know. But there are some scary outcomes. And we should try to make sure the outcomes are good, not bad. Yeah.
KE: Or escape to mars if there is no other option.
MUSK: The A.I. will chase us there pretty quickly.
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