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Elon Musk: A Billionaire in Fear of an AI Apocalypse

When a smart person–a billionaire inventor– believes that machines built by man can and will turn against him when they become smart enough, bringing an end to the world as we know it, it’s difficult for the world, much less the scientific community to ignore him. In case you don’t yet know “who is Elon Musk,” he’s the intelligent man we’re talking about! Musk, whose approximate net worth as of July 207 as Forbes indicates is $16.1 billion, founded SpaceX, and he’s CEO of numerous companies and a business person. A Vanity Fair article reported that the extremely wealthy engineer will pump billions into his efforts to avert an AI doomsday he reckons is realistic.

Lately, Musk has seen a rush by Silicon Valley to accelerate application of artificial intelligence, and that scares him. Instead of relaxing, he’s seems to work on a solution, and he’s trying to exercise control over the fast-growing spectrum of science and its backers because he hopes to prevent dictatorial machines capable of AI learning from destroying the world and the people in it.

It appears that a couple of Musk’s company purchases and his own creations have two main targets: to stay up-to-date with recent AI advancements and to develop appropriate remedies. For instance, there’s this time when Hassabis, who co-founded DeepMind, came to see Musk at his SpaceX facility for building rockets. As the two entrepreneurs were at the canteen enjoying a chat, an enormous rocket part crossed overhead. Then, Musk cleared the air that his SpaceX ultimate goal was the most crucial plan for mankind ever: colonization of other planets.

Hassabis responded that, actually, he was the one developing the most important program on the planet: artificial super-intelligence. For Musk, the counter-argument was that AI constituted a substantial explanation why migration to Mars should be possible, providing an escape route when robots go errant and start destroying humanity. The explanation might have amused Hassabis, who responded that it was possible for AI to track humans to Mars.

Three years ago is when Musk first warned about the probability of AI systems running amok and overwhelming human supervision. Maybe, nothing eased his apprehension when Shane Legg, a DeepMind partner, said point-blank that he thought human extinction was possible, and technology would likely have a role in it.

Musk was already an investor in DeepMind by the time Google bought the AI company in 2014. According to reports in a Vanity Fair article, Musk had invested in DeepMind with the primary goal of vigilantly tracking the AI arc, instead of profitability objectives. That’s also a way for Elon Musk to keep AI advancements in check.

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