Musk is afraid of AI. Should you be, too?
Okay, so last weekend Elon Musk met with a room full of US Governors and told them artificial intelligence poses an "existential threat" to human civilization.
The NPR article was impartial on a technical level but seemed to go out of its way to make it easy for casual readers to conclude that Musk's painting of a doomsday scenario is self-serving and hypocritical.
From referencing the smirking grins of incredulous governors to a Vanity Fair article about Musk's "crusade to stop the AI apocalypse," the report paints Musk as a guy saying pessimistic and melodramatic things about AI for reasons that are a little sketchy.
Is Elon Musk being irrationally pessimistic about AI?
Look, he's Elon Musk. He's proven time and again he's not in the business of pessimism. And as a point of fact, he hasn't said anything sketchy. What he said is the picture of detached rationality:
"The first step is for the government to gain insight into the actual status of the research."
He's saying, don't take MY word for it. Go see for yourself.
Musk's empire depends on AI and machine learning, so he has no apparent vested interest in demonizing AI. Then again, warning the world of an AI apocalypse potentially creates visibility and hype for his brand.
In any case, the article evokes a false binary. It seeks to contrast Musk with Silicon Valley leaders like Larry Page, who think AI is a "possible force for good."
Well, Musk never said that AI couldn't be a force for good. He's instead saying that AI is a powerful thing and should be regulated. Not because he's any big fan of regulation. But because he's seen what machine learning is, up close and personal, and he's scared.
We’re better safe than sorry.
The government should do what Musk is saying and take a closer look. It's a little like when Einstein wrote to FDR back in 1939. A letter about special relativity that resulted in the Manhattan Project. It's not a perfect analogy, but it's useful. Because Musk isn't saying AI is bad. Instead, he's saying it's powerful, let's regulate it to make sure it turns out good.
Musk’s is a reasonable and dispassionate argument. Then again, he did end it with, "once there's awareness, people will be extremely afraid, as they should be." Okay, so he’s being theatrical. But only a touch.
The AI industry’s role.
As automated-conversation artists, we at Botcopy pay close attention to the public debate over AI. As the technology advances in high-security labs and hidden warehouses, all we can do on our end is script bots that serve your interests and talk with you in a relatable way.
Yes, our algorithms have the power to generate copy that matches your style. Our technology monitors what you’re saying and how you’re saying it, but for the purposes of personalizing the conversation and providing you with a satisfying experience. Our goal is to boost authenticity and connection, and make sure that manipulation and alienation don’t become the norm.
On some days it feels like we're making digital pull toys. On other days, it feels different. As if the way we design bot personalities today will impact the AI that rises tomorrow, regarding tone of voice and (gulp) state of mind.
All things considered, we embrace the future and feel optimistic about the future of AI.