Why Artificial Intelligence Should Terrify You

Our resident Silicon Valley CEOs are feuding over A.I. They’re both wrong. Two days ago, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, an outspoken proponent of artificial intelligence regulation, dished out a sick burn via Twitter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Musk called Zuckerberg’s knowledge of AI “limited.” Sounds benign to you or me, but in the rarefied world of the tech world, them’s fightin’ words. Every tech-news outlet has jumped on this story; it’s another course du jour in the saga of two tech leaders embroiled in a fight over whose opinion of AI — opinions that cannot be substantiated anywhere in the near future — is more correct. Where there is sensationalizing, there is media, and here we are again on the shirttails of battles that draw attention away from a real problem. There’s an overbearing precedent in the media to provoke emotion by describing Musk’s viewpoints in their most grandiose terms. The same Recode article that calls Musk’s retort a “sick burn” minimizes some of his legitimate fears by offering the most hyperbolized version of his beliefs, namely the following: “AI could ultimately destroy mankind and send everyone scrambling to Mars to avoid machine overlords.” The Verge’s coverage of Musk’s plan to set…


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