Elon Musk Warns of ‘Civilizational Risk’ from AI

Elon Musk issued a stark warning on Wednesday during a technology leaders’ summit in Washington DC, cautioning that the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) could pose a “grave risk” to humanity if it continues to develop without independent oversight. Musk addressed US senators at the summit and emphasized the urgent need for tech giants to collaborate in regulating AI to prevent potentially disastrous consequences.

Speaking to reporters after the three-hour ‘AI safety forum,’ which also featured Bill Gates, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, Musk stressed that there is a widespread consensus among tech leaders about the necessity of restraining AI technology. He noted that failure to do so could result in “serious” repercussions.

Musk stated, as reported by NBC News, “The real issue at hand is one of existential risk. It’s not a matter of one group of humans against another. It’s a situation where this technology poses a potential threat to all of humanity.” The billionaire entrepreneur further expressed his belief that there is a nonzero possibility “that AI could pose a lethal threat to humanity.”

AI language models, commonly referred to as ‘chat bots,’ gained significant popularity last year with the public release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT. This technology is capable of responding to questions and generating intricate passages of text in a human-like manner. Critics have raised concerns about the accuracy of information provided by AI chat bots.

Additionally, worries have arisen regarding potential widespread job displacements due to AI, as well as increased instances of online fraud and misinformation.

Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI and the creator of ChatGPT, stated, “I believe that if this technology goes awry, it could go seriously awry. We want to be vocal about this issue and collaborate with the government to prevent such a scenario.”

Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, who organized the meeting, described it as “historic” and noted unanimous agreement on the need for regulation. However, no consensus was reached on the specific methods of regulation.

One topic discussed during the forum was the establishment of an independent agency tasked with overseeing the pace of AI development. The Guardian reported that transparency in Big Tech companies was also a focal point of the discussions.

On the other hand, Republican Senator Mike Rounds stated after the meeting that the US Congress is currently “absolutely not” prepared to propose legislation to govern artificial intelligence. Furthermore, outspoken GOP lawmaker Josh Hawley declined to attend, labeling it a “giant cocktail party for Big Tech.”