Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is once again calling for the regulation of artificial intelligence (AI), warning that “by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late”.
While speaking in Providence, Rhode Island, at the US National Governors Association summer meeting, Musk argued in support of preemptive action given the potential volatility of the burgeoning technology.
“Normally the way regulations are set up is when a bunch of bad things happen, there’s a public outcry, and after many years a regulatory agency is set up to regulate that industry,” Musk said.
The famed engineer and inventor even went as far as to label AI “a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization.”
“It takes forever. That, in the past, has been bad but not something which represented a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization.”
Musk, who has repeatedly called AI a threat to humanity, says all his investments into the field are made with the developmental risk in mind.
During an interview at the AeroAstro Centennial Symposium in 2014, Musk argued that a careless approach to AI would be similar to “summoning the demon.”
“With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon,” Musk said. “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. Doesn’t work out.”
“I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful,” Musk added. “I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish.”
Lawmakers remain divided on the idea of early regulation, noting that such a move could stifle innovation.
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