Tesla CEO Elon Musk issued a warning to a gathering of US governors on Saturday, cautioning that the rise of artificial intelligence could lead to dangers, calling for a regulatory body specifically to monitor such developments. Specifically, Musk argued that AI could soon threaten jobs, and in a worst-case scenario could spark a war.
“It is the biggest risk that we face as a civilization,” said Musk, who has frequently expressed his concern over the matter. He helped to create nonprofit research group Open AI, which works to ensure the safe development of AI technology. He said a government agency should be created to look into the rapid development of AI, and to enact regulations.
“Right now the government doesn’t even have insight. Once there is awareness people will be extremely afraid, as they should be,” he warned.
Proponents of the technology argue it is still too early for regulations to be necessary, saying the technology still has a long way to go before becoming a threat. Arizona’s Republican Governor Doug Ducey, said to Musk, “I was surprised by your suggestion to bring regulations before we know what we are dealing with,” saying he had worked hard to minimize government regulations throughout his career, and that beyond slowing development of AI, he was unsure what lawmakers could do to address the problem.
“For sure the companies doing AI—most of them, not mine—will squawk and say this is really going to stop innovation,” Musk responded. He said he doubted, however, that such regulations would drive companies to leave country.
At the same event, Musk discussed the pressures his company Tesla has faced since their stock rose more than 50 percent before their release of the Model 3, their first mass-marketed electric vehicle. Their stocks have been valued higher than Ford Motor Company, and at times higher than General Motors. Tesla, however, is not a profitable company, and both major automakers sell far more vehicles than Tesla.
Musk said the shares were trading at prices “higher than we have any right to deserve,” which he said represents optimism over the company’s future.
“Those expectations sometimes get out of control,” said Musk. He said, however, that he is committed to succeed with Tesla. He said that besides selling shares to pay taxes for the company, he avoids selling shares.
“I’m going down with the ship,” he added.