Elon Musk Warns A.I. Superintelligence Could Become "Immortal Dictators"

Whether good or evil, AI doesn't die. 

Elon Musk

The advancement of artificial intelligence brings several security questions with it, and once again Elon Musk is reminding the public that it’s a bigger concern than most realize.

The SpaceX and Tesla CEO shared a link on Twitter Friday morning to endorse Chris Paine’s latest film Do You Trust This Computer? The movie, which is streaming for free until Sunday night, explores the future of human dependence on machine intelligence and the ways in which this will impact societal norms.

“AI doesn’t have to be evil to destroy humanity,” Musk says in the film. “If AI has a goal and humanity just happens to be in the way, it will destroy humanity as a matter of course without even thinking about it. No hard feelings.” Musk is interviewed extensively for the film, paying close attention to the implications of artificial intelligence that has become smarter than its human developers, aka superintelligence. Such an advancement of AI, Musk warns, could create an “immortal dictator.”

“At least when there’s an evil dictator, that human is going to die. But for an AI, there would be no death. It would live forever. And then you’d have an immortal dictator from which we can never escape.” Musk argues that it wouldn’t even be the AI’s fault. Much like humankind’s dominance in the animal kingdom, superintelligence would put humanity at certain risks. “It’s just like, if we’re building a road and an anthill just happens to be in the way, we don’t hate ants, we’re just building a road, and so, goodbye anthill.”

Musk gives viewers some glimmer of hope in Do You Trust This Computer? by offering an alternative to submitting to the AI overlords: democratizing the process by which superintelligence is built.

“The least scary future I can think of is one where we have at least democratized AI because if one company or small group of people manages to develop godlike digital superintelligence, they could take over the world,” Musk said.