May 22, 2019, 0:03

Elon Musk Says Robots Will Trigger WWIII, But Expert Says ‘Not On Their Own’

Elon Musk Says Robots Will Trigger WWIII, But Expert Says ‘Not On Their Own’

Elon Musk Says Robots Will Trigger WWIII, But Expert Says ‘Not On Their Own’
Photo: PixabayTech00:18 06.09.2017(updated 00:20 06.09.2017) Get short URL


While most spent Labor Day weekend firing up their grills and taking advantage of holiday sales, Elon Musk opted to discuss the possibility of artificial intelligence setting off the next world war.

Taking to Twitter Monday, the billionaire tweeted out that in his opinion, “competition for AI security at national level [would] most likely cause WW3.”

​Musk’s doom-and-gloom tweet didn’t just come out of thin air: he was responding to comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the potential opportunities and setbacks AI could have on humanity.

“Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict,” Putin told students via satellite. “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.”

Though Putin ended his comments on a lighter note, suggesting Russia would be more than willing to share intel with the world if they became “leaders in [AI],” the same couldn’t be said for the Tesla CEO.

After sending out his first tweet on the looming WWIII, Musk fired off a few more hinting that the catastrophe would not be set off by actual people — it would be initiated by robots.

​And though many are currently more concerned about tension on the Korean Peninsula, for Musk, the DPRK “should be low on our list of concerns for civilizational existential risk.”

​But while the 46-year-old business magnate is pointing the finger at evil bots, not everyone shares his view.

Speaking to Radio Sputnik, Dr. Noel Sharkey, a professor of robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Sheffield, says “robot weapons can start WWIII, but not on their own.”

“It’s about how humans use the technology… Musk believes that somehow computers will suddenly have desires and want to attack,” Sharkey said. But robots really are just “a program sending out computer signals.”

Though the co-director of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics admitted “robots could accidentally trigger wars” if officials failed to keep tabs on autonomous machines, “it’s up to humans which direction [mankind] goes in.”


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