Elon Musk, being one of the most prominent entrepreneurs in modern-era, has some thoughts about artificial intelligence.
Specifically, he believes AI could be a more important innovation than the industrial revolution that transformed economies and laid the groundwork for modern society.
A common fear, voiced by Musk and others , is that artificial intelligence (AI) will be too smart for us, and will start a new arms race with other humans.
That would also probably spell our doom in the long term.
After all, we’re just one civilization among many in the universe, with no exalted status or divine right to rule them all.
Humans vs. AI
This argument has been around for a while now, and there are no clear winners in sight.
Some people insist that AI will never be better than humans at some tasks.
There are several reasons for this.
For one, the human brain is arguably the most complex object in the known universe.
It’s hard to match its awesome versatility and originality.
Artificial intelligence is also just not advanced enough yet to match humans at some tasks (like games of strategy).
Robots are definitely going to take over.
But, many AI experts think that one day machines will become self-aware and a new era of human-AI interaction will begin.
Musk, who is renowned for his futuristic visions and public warnings on the dangers of AI, said that:
“There’s a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation.
“That’s going to be necessary just to have a civilization .”
Obviously he thinks that AI could potentially cause some serious damage over the next few decades.
And perhaps even get rid of us in the far future.
But, he also thinks there is a potential for AI to be our best friend.
It can help us find cures for cancer, help us travel to Mars, and plenty of other cool things.
Artificial intelligence can give humans an ultimate boost in intelligence and power.
What do you think?
Do you agree with Elon Musk?
Do we need AI?
OK, so all this doom and gloom.
But, what about some positive things that AI can do for us in the short term?
It’s not hard to imagine that artificial intelligence will make a lot of jobs obsolete (some sooner than others).
In fact, some companies are already feeling the heat from AI.
For example, a company in South Korea recently replaced its 400 workers with an AI robot.
Another really cool example is an AI researcher looking for a cure for cancer.
All it needs to do is input 100,000 molecular structures and take a look at what could eventually be used as cures for the disease.
Yes, some may argue that AI could free humans from tedious and dangerous work
BUT, others point out that artificial intelligence would definitely replace certain jobs.
Yes, you read that right.
Artificial Intelligence could eventually take on most of the jobs done by humans today.
So, what would we humans do if that happens?
The ultimate solution
Elon Musk has a solution to this potential problem.
What if governments take the initiative to provide citizens a universal basic income (UBI)?
This is not a new idea.
It’s actually been around for quite some time.
The idea is that, if AI takes away jobs, then it will free up people to do other things that they desire to do with their lives.
Musk believes that humans could live in an AI-powered symbiosis.
He also warns, however, that “if one [AI] system is notably more intelligent than others… it’s not a good situation.”
The best way forward would be to combine the parts of our brain that AI can’t replace with the ones it can.
This would give us a competitive advantage in intelligence over the machines and, hopefully, keep us safe from them.
But, how will we achieve this?
How will we combine the parts of our brain that AI can’t replace with the ones it can?
Mankind’s greatest minds have been working on this problem for decades.
Meanwhile, Musk thinks he might have a solution.
Musk, in fact, is working on building a device that can help us achieve this goal.
The device is described as “neural lace” and would work by implanting electrodes into the brain to connect it directly to a computer.
That would give the AI-powered machine access to the thoughts and feelings of those who use it.
The idea is that this would make it easier for us humans to assimilate into AI-controlled societies.
Power or peril?
From Elon Musk’s perspective, the AI arms race is inevitable for several reasons.
Firstly, AI has better computational power than any human being today.
AI has what Musk calls “unlimited” power, and it will continue to improve at an exponential rate .
That means it will be able to solve a wide range of problems that are currently intractable with current technology.
That includes constructing better substitute materials and getting more energy out of a system (think of how much more energy you can extract from a battery compared to the original lithium-ion batteries).
Additionally, AI has the ability to reach out to other computers around the world in order to solve our problems.
AI could essentially do things that humans alone cannot.
“The danger of AI is much greater than the danger of nuclear warheads by a lot.
Nobody would suggest we allow the world to just build nuclear warheads if they want.
That would be insane; we put enormous effort into preventing that.
So, why do we need to allow everyone to just build AI weapons? ” said Musk.
A few years ago, it was hardly imaginable that a human being would ever be replaced by an AI.
Many people thought that this was not even a possibility.
But, today AI is starting to become a reality.
Today’s computers are certainly not as powerful as the ones used in 20 years from now.
But, they definitely do have the potential to become strong enough to take over many jobs done on earth by humans.
AI is already becoming popular in the world today and will continue to improve over time (although probably at a slow rate).