Musk issues new warning over AI’s ‘Terminator future’ as he launches new firm

AI robots answer questions during United Nations summit

Twitter CEO Elon Musk issued a terrifying warning about the future of artificial intelligence (AI) as he launched a new company.

Musk, 52, has long warned about the AI’s potential for “civilisational destruction” as fears about the future of the powerful technology continue to mount.

He has even previously called on tech giants to slam the breaks on AI development as concern grew.

But now, the billionaire is embarking on his own venture in the field.

The Twitter and Tesla boss has announced that he will launch xAI – a platform set to rival the likes of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

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He said during a Twitter Spaces discussion as he announced the new company: “From an AI safety standpoint … a maximally curious AI, one that is trying to understand the universe, is I think going to be pro-humanity.”

Musk claims the purpose of his new company is “to understand the true nature of the universe”.

But he added during the Spaces discussion: “It’s important for us to worry about a Terminator future in order to avoid a Terminator future.”

His team will consist of several former engineers and scientists from tech and AI giants like Google, Microsoft and OpenAI.

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The start-up said on its website: “We have worked on and led the development of some of the largest breakthroughs in the field including AlphaStar… GPT-3.5, and GPT-4.”

He is poised to host another Twitter Spaces event on July 14 to reveal more about the new business venture.

It comes after an open letter signed by hundreds of industry leaders and academics published in May warned of the potentially grave consequences AI threatens to cause.

Musk himself signed the letter, urging developers to hold fire on building large AI models such as ChatGPT.

ChatGPT is a language model now used by millions of people which creates a humanlike conversational dialogue based on the inputs you provide it with. It has been rapidly advancing since its initial release.

Musk now thinks a pause on developments like ChatGPT and the advancements made are no longer “realistic”.

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He said: “If I could press pause on AI or really advanced AI digital superintelligence I would. It doesn’t seem like that is realistic so xAI is essentially going to build an AI…in a good way, sort of hopefully.”

The Center for AI Safety statement released in May read: “Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks, such as pandemics and nuclear war.”

Other signatories included chief executives from Google’s DeepMind and even included the ChatGPT developer itself – OpenAI.

Dr Geoffrey Hinton, who has been dubbed the “godfather of AI”, also signed the letter and stepped down from Google this year.

He has warned that chatbots could be “bad actors” and carry an “existential risk”.

He told the BBC: “It’s able to produce lots of text automatically so you can get lots of very effective spambots. It will allow authoritarian leaders to manipulate their electorates, things like that.”

He added that there is an “existential risk of what happens when these things get more intelligent than us.”

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