Tesla’s Elon Musk Warns of ‘Terminators’

by Greg Pollowitz

Here’s Musk in an interview with Business Insider on the dangers of artificial intelligence:

JB: That’s amazing. But you did just invest in a company called Vicarious Artificial Intelligence. What is this company?

MUSK: Right. I was also an investor in DeepMind before Google acquired it and Vicarious. Mostly I sort of – it’s not from the standpoint of actually trying to make any investment return. It’s really, I like to just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence. I think there is potentially a dangerous outcome there and we need to –

KE: Dangerous? How so?

EM: Potentially, yes. I mean, there have been movies about this, you know, like “Terminator.”

KE: Well, yes, but movies are — even if that is the case, what do you do about it? I mean, what dangers do you see that you can actually do something about?

MUSK: I don’t know.

JB: Well why did you invest in Vicarious? What exactly does Vicarious do? What do you see it doing down the line?

MUSK: Well, I mean, Vicarious refers to it as recursive cortical networks. Essentially emulating the human brain. And so I think — 

JB: So you want to make sure that technology is used for good and not “Terminator”-like evil?

MUSK: Yeah. I mean, I don’t think — in the movie “Terminator,” they didn’t create A.I. to — they didn’t expect, you know some sort of “Terminator”-like outcome. It is sort of like the “Monty Python” thing: Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition. It’s just — you know, but you have to be careful. Yeah, you want to make sure that —

Let’s recap what the world would need for a robot army of “Terminators” to take over.

First the robots would need a way to manufacture more killer robots. The assembly line at Musk’s Tesla should work nicely.

The robots needs weapons, of course, so they’ll need a company with cutting edge rocket technology that can be easily weaponized. Something like Musk’s SpaceX maybe?

Robots need a power source, and the obvious choice would be an lithium-ion battery charged with solar power. Coincidentally, Musk is building what he calls the world’s most advanced plant to make batteries and he just got into the business of manufacturing solar panels:

SolarCity, the dominant U.S. installer of residential solar panels whose largest shareholder is entrepreneur Elon Musk, announced Tuesday that it plans to acquire solar panel maker Silevo and expand into manufacturing with new panel factories.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based company, which leases rooftop systems with little to zero upfront costs, said the acquisition enables it to produce efficient, low-cost panels in volumes large enough to ensure its supply. It’s in talks with the state of New York to build, within two years there, one of the world’s largest solar panel factories with an annual capacity of at least one gigawatt.

“If we don’t do this, we thought there was a risk of not being able to have the solar panels we need to expand our business in the long-term,” chairman Elon Musk, also CEO of Tesla Motors, said Tuesday in a conference call. He said while many basic panels are being made, more advanced ones are needed for the solar industry to lower its costs and compete with other energy sources without government subsidies.

If “Terminators” are a real risk, then when they arrive to kill us all don’t be surprised to find “Made by Musk” stamped on their armored exoskeletons.  

Or maybe it’s too late and Tesla-nators already walk among us, waiting to strike? 


We’re doomed.