Elon Musk says AI development should be better regulated, even at Tesla

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk wants to see all artificial intelligence better regulated, even at his own company, he tweeted Monday (via TechCrunch). He made the remark in response to a piece about OpenAI by MIT Technology Review, which claimed that the AI organization, co-founded by Musk, has shifted from its mission of developing and distributing AI safely and equitably into a secretive company obsessed with image and driven to constantly raise more money.

Musk has a history of expressing serious concerns about the negative potential of AI. He tweeted in 2014 that it could be “more dangerous than nukes,” and told an audience at an MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics symposium that year that AI was “our biggest existential threat,” and humanity needs to be extremely careful:

With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out.

Musk has been floating the idea for some kind of government oversight of AI for a while, as well. He told Recode’s Kara Swisher in 2018 — the same year he stepped down from OpenAI to avoid conflicts with the machine learning technology used in Tesla’s autonomous vehicles — that “we ought to have a government committee that starts off with insight, gaining insight. Spends a year or two gaining insight about AI or other technologies that are maybe dangerous, but especially AI.” The committee would then come up with regulations to ensure the safest uses of AI, he said.

Musk added at the time that he did not think such a committee would actually happen.

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