Elon Musk describes AI as 'summoning the devil'

Tesla and Space X founder Elon Musk has described Artificial Intelligence as a massive threat to national and international security, akin to nuclear war.

Musk told delegates at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AeroAstro Centennial Symposium that artificial intelligence was our biggest existential threat' and developing super-smart computers is like 'summoning the devil'.

He said: "I think we should be very careful about artificial intelligence. If I had to guess at what our biggest existential threat is, it's probably that. So we need to be very careful with artificial intelligence.

"I'm increasingly inclined to think that 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."

The technology entrepreneur has explained in the past that although he has invested in some AI projects, he's only splashing the cash so he can be kept in the loop about what's being developed rather than using it to get a return on the money he's spent.

One of Musk's biggest investments is into developing Vicarious' life-like robot that can think as a human thinks and features a neural network said to replicate brain activites to control vision, body movement and language. Other funders of the project include Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and actor Ashton Kutcher.

"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. Doesn't work out," he explained.

Musk may have a very big battle to stop project becoming too intelligent though. In July, the UK government announced it was investing 150m to develop the UK robotics industry and Google invested in Silicon Valley start-up Savioke to improve the use of robotics in the service industry.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.