Elon Musk: “World War III Will be Fought Over AI.”

September 28, 2017

Artificial Intelligence is a topic confusing to many. According to Merriam-Webster, Artificial Intelligence is “a branch of computer science dealing with the simulation of intelligent behavior in computers; the capability of a machine to imitate intelligent human behavior.”  Some people believe that AI is evil.

Elon Musk, critic of AI, and founder of Paypal, SpaceEx, and Telsa Motor, says that if the human race continues to pursue AI, it could pose “existential risk.” However, others think it could significantly improve the quality of life.

For most, Artificial Intelligence is associated with self-governing robots plotting against their owners, but that’s not the case. Most people are closer to AI than they might think. For example, popular virtual assistants like Siri (Apple), Alexa (Amazon), and Cortana (Windows) are all a form of Artificial Intelligence.

Another example of Artificial Intelligence involves Google. Google’s search engine uses something called “Deep Learning Artificial Intelligence,” which is basically extensive neural networks and interconnected webs of hardware and software, that simulate the web of neurons in the human brain. These neurons can be taught to identify faces in photos, recognize commands spoken into a device, and respond to Internet search questions.

Earlier this month, Musk tweeted, “China, Russia, soon all countries with a strong computer science… competition for AI superiority at a national level will be the cause of World War III in my opinion.” Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister of Russia, also chimed in on the topic. He said, “The development of AI raises colossal opportunities and threats that are difficult to predict now. Whoever becomes the leader in this…will become the ruler of the world.”

Right now, the United States is at the forefront of AI development, and is considered to be the world’s leader in Artificial Intelligence in general. However, a recent Goldman Sachs report stated that China could soon have the capability of catching up with the U.S.

The Investment Bank said, “We believe AI technology will become a priority on the government’s agenda, and we expect further national, and we expect international policy to change with the shift toward the development to Artificial Intelligence.”  

Conversely, Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg has beliefs that severely contrast those of Musk.

In one of his Facebook Live videos, he criticized the fellow Silicon Valley millionaire by saying, “AI is going to make our lives better in the future, and doomsday scenarios are pretty irresponsible.” Zuckerberg went on to say that he discourages the spread of fear surrounding the potential expansion of Artificial Intelligence. “I’m an optimist. I think you can build on things and the world gets better. But with AI especially, I am really optimistic,” said Zuckerberg.

People are free to form their own opinions about  AI as it grows and develops. The only certainty is that people won’t know how good or bad AI has the potential to be until it is released. Until then, the only thing to do is conduct research and try to remain as open-minded as possible.

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