AI to cause World War III?

AI to cause World War III?
If there is a World War III, it won’t be due to North Korea but due to the advent of Artificial Intelligence. Entrepreneur Elon Musk warned that AI would be the reason for World War III..

If there is a World War III, it won’t be due to North Korea but due to the advent of Artificial Intelligence.

Entrepreneur Elon Musk warned that AI would be the reason for World War III.

Background

Artificial intelligence is the development of computer systems that can perform tasks that can otherwise be performed only through human intelligence. This includes but is not limited to visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages.

Presently, most of the technology focused on Artificial Intelligence is properly known as narrow AI or weak AI. Self-driving cars and Siri are some of the platforms that employ AI (narrow AI). Researchers and experts now believe that humanity is now on the path to creating General Artificial Intelligence (AGI). According to scientists, AGI would be able to outperform humans in nearly every single cognitive task. 

Elon Musk has often spoken about the potent risks inherent in AI. He is a South African-born Canadian American business magnate, investor and inventor. He is best known as the founder, CEO, and CTO of SpaceX.

Analysis

Elon Musk recently took to his Twitter account to speak about how Artificial Intelligence would be the catalyst for the next world war. He noted that North Korea would does not pose the same level of threat writing that North Korea “should be low on our list of concerns for civilizational existential risk. NK has no entangling alliances that wd (would) polarize world into war…Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo (in my opinion).”

He added, “Govts (governments) don't need to follow normal laws. They will obtain AI developed by companies at gunpoint, if necessary.”

Musk’s comments come just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin also spoke on the subject. During an event Putin said that any nation that is able to effectively crack AI technology, will become the “ruler of the world.” He said, “Artificial Intelligence is the future not only of Russia but of all of mankind. There are huge opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to foresee today… Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” Putin added that if Russia becomes the leader in the development of Artificial Intelligence, "we will share our technology with the rest of the world, like we are doing now with atomic and nuclear technology.”

However, not all experts share Musk’s fatalistic views on AI. Max Versace, CEO of robotics and computing company Neurala and founding director of the Boston University Neuromorphics Lab said that Musk is wrong about his assumptions. He said, “They (people like Elon Musk who warn against AI) are selling fear and it's working. It's not appropriate to regulate AI until you know what you're working on. AI will not kill us. That's science fiction. People who aren't competent are discussing AI, which they have no clue about. AI is hard to understand and is very complex.”

Assessment 

Our assessment is that even if Musk is incorrect about AI posing a threat to humanity, governments and researchers ought to practice caution when it comes to adopting this technology. 

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