Elon Musk — While artificial intelligence has been under development for a few years, 2022 heralded the start of a new age. OpenAI’s ChatGPT revolutionized how AI may be utilized in academic and professional contexts, inspiring many other megacorporations to step up their efforts. Google, in particular, was scrutinized closely.
Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has joined the AI rivalry as it heats up. On Wednesday night, he delivered an hour-long interview in which he discussed his AI venture, the China-US relationship, and how AI may bring mankind a grim future.
The event was attended by Reps. Ro Khanna and Mike Gallagher, both of them members of the House Armed Services Committee and the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party. The event was promoted as a discussion about the future of artificial intelligence. It happened on the same day Musk launched his AI company, xAI.
Elon Musk’s goal with xAI
Elon Musk outlined the rationale for the development of xAI as the debate began. He characterized the endeavor as a ‘If you can’t defeat them, join them’ situation. He co-founded OpenAI but resigned from its board of directors in 2018. Musk no longer has a stake in the company as of today.
“If I could press pause on AI, I would,” said Musk. “It doesn’t seem like that is realistic.”
Without a choice, Elon Musk decided to create an AI “in a good way,” teaching its algorithms to be “maximally curious, maximally truth-seeking.”
“I think a maximally curious AI, one that is just trying to sort of understand the universe is, I think, going to be pro-humanity,” he explained. “From the standpoint that humanity is just much more interesting than not humanity.”
Elon Musk has also said that such techniques are preferable than actively seeking to build morality into AI. He went on to explain that the approach will involve moral judgment judgments about who’s morality is encoded into the structure, resulting in a “invasion problem” in which morality may be flipped on its head.
In terms of technical regulation, Musk advocated that politicians learn about the technology for a few years before shifting to supervision in collaboration with industry. The xAI creator also suggested that an industry organization or self-regulation agency, such as the Motion Picture Association, might be beneficial.
The discussion turned to the possibility of China overtaking the US in the AI race. They talked about the likelihood of a military conflict over Taiwan’s sovereignty, which is viewed as a self-governed zone that the Chinese government deems to be part of its territory.
During a recent trip, Elon Musk indicated that he and Chinese officials spent a substantial amount of time discussing AI safety. He went on to suggest that the thought of a digital superintelligence taking the place of the Chinese Communist Party sounded appealing.
“No government wants to find itself unseated by a digital superintelligence,” said Musk. “So I think they actually are taking action on the regulatory front and are concerned about this as a risk.”
Elon Musk believes the Chinese government is willing to collaborate with him on an international framework for AI law. Meanwhile, Gallagher contended that the CCP could not contribute to a global framework. He added that even if they listened to Musk’s warnings, he fears it would not be enough to put a stop to their AI ambitions. Gallagher also prophesied that China’s leader, Xi Jinping, would grab the chance to cement dictatorial authority.
Musk responded to Gallagher’s comments by calling himself “pro-China.” He also admitted that he has an economic stake in the country, but ultimately, China is overlooked and its citizens are “really awesome.” Gallagher said he wholeheartedly supports the Chinese people, but implied that the government is a problem.
“That’s not to say that there aren’t some very significant disagreements and that there’s obviously going to be a significant challenge on the Taiwan question,” Musk responded.
“I think ultimately, once the very difficult question of Taiwan is resolved, I am certainly hopeful that there will be positive relations between China and the United States and the rest of the world.”
Despite the fact that tensions between the United States and China remain high, the two countries have achieved diplomatic progress by resuming face-to-face talks. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen just visited China, and US climate envoy John Kerry will be there later this month. Elon Musk, on the other hand, believes that resolving the Taiwan issue would be difficult.
“I do have this theory about prediction, which is that the most entertaining outcome – as seen by a third party, not the participant – is the most likely,” he said. “Which does suggest it’s probably going to get hot in the Pacific. Hopefully not too hot. But it’s going to get hot.”
Elon Musk believes that in five or six years, the world will experience digital superintelligence.
“That’s not necessarily smarter than the sum of all humans,” he explained. “That’s a higher bar to be smarter than several humans. And especially given that it’s the sum of all humans that are machine-augmented, in that we will have computers and phones and software applications. We are de facto cyborgs, it’s just that the computers are not yet integrated with us.”
Despite concentrating on the serious issues surrounding AI, Elon Musk remains optimistic about the technology.
“If I were to assign probabilities, I think it is more likely to be a positive scenario than a bad scenario,” he explained. “It’s just that the bad scenario is not 0% and we want to do everything we can to minimize the probability of a bad outcome with AI.”
“If this was a Netflix series or something, I’d say the season finale would be a showdown between the West and China,” said Musk. “And that series finally will be AGI (artificial general intelligence).”