Great talk by Tesla/SpaceX Elon Musk given at MIT this month. Most of the talk is about SpaceX but the Q&A hit some points on Tesla (and the Hyperloop). At 1:14:10 (queued up above) Musk lays out his future vision of the Superchargers which would be built around solar or renewable power sources and a battery backup that would not only be carbon neutral but also be able to avoid grid downtimes and outages.

Even more interesting for me is Musk’s recent obsession with AI and the singularity. I say recent but it seems to have started publicly with this tweet in August:

Since then, just about every opportunity he’s gotten, he’s brought up his fear of AI and the Singularity.

This video is no different.  When asked a question about AI at 1:07:25, Musk goes real serious-like – like he’s “seen some shit”

Musk: I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I were to guess like what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful with the artificial intelligence. Increasingly scientists think 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. With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. 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. Didn’t work out.

Questioner: So I’ll take it there’ll be no HAL9000 going to mars?

M: Heh. HAL 9000 would be easy to deal with in comparison to the AI he’s talking about. It’s way more complex… it’d put HAL9000 to shame. That’s like puppy dog.

Then he’s asked another question about telecommunications and he’s not listening. He’s still thinking about AI and is clearly a little shaken and needs to be asked again.

I’d like to imagine Musk had a HAL9000 moment with one of his advanced prototype Tesla Model S head unit stacks or something. Like “Elon, wouldn’t you rather run over those people who don’t own Teslas?”

That this fear is coming from a man like Musk, who has seen and executed the future better than almost anyone is a bit rattling. He’s even advocating for government control and oversight which seems strangely uncharacteristic for an entrepreneur like Musk.

Hopefully, he’s just read too much science fiction :\

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