I watched a youtube clip of Elon Musk talking about his view on the future of AI. He gave two examples. One of the examples was a benign scenario and the other example was a non benign scenario where he speculated the possibilities of future AI threats and what harm a deep intelligence could do.

According to Elon, a deep intelligence in the network could create fake news and spoof email accounts. "The pen is mightier than the sword". This non benign scenario put forth by Elon was a hypothetical, but he went into detail about how it could have been possible that an AI, with the goal of maximising the portfolio of stocks, to go long on defence and short on consumer, and start a war.

To be more specific, this could be achieved by hacking into the Malaysians Airlines aircraft routing server, and when the aircraft is over a warzone, send an anonymous tip that there is an enemy aircraft flying overhead which in turn would cause ground to air missiles to take down what was actually a "commercial" airliner.

Although this is a plausible hypothetical non benign scenario of AI, I'm wondering if this actually could have been the case regarding the Malaysian Airliner crash. The Stuxnet, for example was a malicious computer worm, first uncovered in 2010. Thought to have been in development since at least 2005 and believed to be responsible for causing substantial damage to Iran's nuclear program. The Stuxnet wasn't even an AI....

The stuxnet blew the worlds minds when it was discovered. The shear complexity of the worm and the amount of time it took to build was impressive to say the least.

In conclusion, Who would agree that the Malaysian Airliner was a non benign scenario of a deep intelligence in the network?

  • $\begingroup$ Elon Musk argumentation is very simple. At first, he spreads out fear before a superintelligent AI who runs amok against human civilization. To defeat such kind of AI, a much more intelligent AI system is needed which is peaceful. And who is the company which is providing positive AI? Right, it is Neuralink owned by Elon Musk. They are producing Nanobots for enhancing the human brain so that humans can compete with evil AI and are able to fight back. Musk isn't interested in any kind of debate he only want's to tease brain-computer-interfaces as a consumer product. $\endgroup$ – Manuel Rodriguez Jun 14 '18 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ I like your view on this. Its very strategic on Elon's part. I must read about "Neuralink". Its probably the only area of Elon's endeavours that i have not dived into. $\endgroup$ – PandaSurge Jun 14 '18 at 12:46
  • $\begingroup$ Isn't Google the real entity that he and many others fear though? I mean google have bought out a bunch of companies including Boston Dynamics and many other Companies. I don't know if Elon needs to spread fear for as long as Google are in the game... $\endgroup$ – PandaSurge Jun 14 '18 at 12:55
  • $\begingroup$ Stuxnet is not AI, and there is no need to posit AIs with amazing capabilities. Any reasonable definition of "hacking" for instance is beyond what any modern AI could do. This does not rule out that an event is caused by malicious intent from some "controlling" political cause, and it doesn't rule out hacking (although there's nothing that I can see here that points to it, it just seems another conspiracy theory). For now, any "smart" parts to such an event will be directed by people, and software will not be AI, but more direct, like a pre-installed back door or scanning for exploit. $\endgroup$ – Neil Slater Jun 14 '18 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ I never said Stuxnet was AI. "The Stuxnet wasn't even an AI...." $\endgroup$ – PandaSurge Jun 14 '18 at 13:33

Short answer: despite the incredible advances in AI via Machine Learning (and subfields) AI is nowhere near this kind of autonomous decision-making.

I can't prove a negative, but, the level of autonomy Musk is talking about is still on the horizon.

Doesn't mean Musk is wrong about the hypothetical. imo I'm glad he keeps bringing these kinds of issues to the fore.

Engineers and mathematicians have a bit more credibility on this subject than laypeople. If it seems alarmist, there are many in the scientific community who feel it is warranted.

What Musk is describing is an extension of what Asimov felt compelled to warn us about via his "Three Laws of Robotics" back in 1942, when computers sucked. For an explication of this idea re: Machine Learning, see below.


Author and mathematical physicist Hannu Rajaniemi just published a story in the MIT Tech Review on this very subject.

Unchained: A Story of Love, Loss, and Blockchain

Warning: the story is both wickedly funny, surprisingly moving, and very likely prescient!

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