Twitter, AI and Elon Musk: It seems like every single company is catching the artificial intelligence (AI) wave that’s sweeping Silicon Valley right now, but it appears one of the most technologically advanced, Elon Musk, isn’t such a big fan.
In fact, he’s warned against it. Dialling in via video at the World Government Summit in Dubai this week, Musk said that “one of the biggest risks to the future of civilization is AI.”
“We need to regulate AI safety, quite frankly. Because think of any technology which is potentially a risk to people, like if it’s an aircraft or cars or medicine, we have regulatory bodies that oversee the public safety… we should have a similar oversight for [AI].”
Here’s Musk in his own words.
Hold up … AI is moving faster than it should be
While the world looks towards integrating AI into as many applications as possible, critics have been raising the alarm to the potential repercussions of AI that moves too fast.
ChatGPT and other AI-powered programs have been called out for AI-bias — just this week, ChatGPT AI was accused of liberal bias after refusing to write coverage on Hunter Biden.
AI’s predatory theft of art
In the art world, the AI space continues to cop backlash from the community. Artists have voiced out their anger towards alleged art theft from popular AI art generators such as Midjourney and Stable Diffusion.
Ethical concerns grew when Lensa, an app that uses AI to generate art from users’ selfies, amassed downloads last year. Most recently, three artists have had enough and decided to sue Stability AI, DeviantArt, and Midjourney for using their art without their consent.
OpenAI, ChatGPT, and Musk
It’s an interesting sentiment, because did you know that Elon Musk was one of the co-founders of OpenAI, creator of the hit AI chatbot ChatGPT?
Musk, alongside current CEO Sam Altman, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Y-Combinator founding partner Jessica Livingston, and Ilya Sutskever, co-founded OpenAI back in 2015.
They collectively poured US$1 billion into the company to develop safer AI for everyone.
However, Musk left OpenAI in 2018 and no longer holds a stake in the company. At the time, OpenAI clarified that he would still continue to donate to and advise the organisation.
He acknowledged this at the World Government Summit:
At the time I was concerned that we were not paying enough attention to AI safety… initially it was created as an open-source non-profit, and now it is closed-source, for profit… ChatGPT has illustrated to people how advanced AI has become.Elon Musk
Elon’s past comments on AI – bro really doesn’t like the pace
He’s not just giving stark warnings about the nascent technology this week. He’s long been an advocate for trialling, testing, and evolving these technologies in a way that won’t harm its users.
In 2014, at SXSW, he stated that AI “scares the hell out of [him]”.
This is a case where you have a very serious danger to the public, and therefore there needs to be a public body that has insight and oversight to confirm that everyone is developing AI safely … the danger of AI is much greater than the danger of nuclear warheads by a lot.Elon Musk
In 2020, in an interview with The New York Times, he called out London-based AI company DeepMind – which is now owned by Google, by the way – for being a “top concern,” sharing that the tech is a “plotline in War Games”.
Then later in 2020, Musk voiced his dissatisfaction on Twitter at the news about Microsoft obtaining an exclusive licence for OpenAI’s GPT-3 model.
So, he’s really only stressing what he’s always believed in, but as ChatGPT has quickly become one of the fastest downloaded applications in modern history, his concerns are welcomed.
What about the Tesla robot?
As much as he appears to dislike AI, though, in 2021 Tesla unveiled a ‘Tesla Robot’ powered by artificial intelligence. The Tesla bot isn’t available yet, but remember how he made someone dance in a bodysuit as part of the event?! It was an unforgettable day on tech Twitter.
But Musk says Tesla’s artificial intelligence is not like the other tech companies (it’s giving “I’m not like the other girls”) – he said in a tweet:
All in all, Elon Musk, father of nine, is not a fan of artificial intelligence coming around so quickly and he wants you to know it. We may anticipate more similar statements in the future, as OpenAI, Google, and Microsoft continue to get entangled in this artificial intelligence race.