The dangers of AI

Elon Musk and others say that in time, artificial intelligence could present a major threat to humanity.

Big names in the tech and science fields think that, in time, artificial intelligence (AI) could prove a little too much for human intelligence and become one of the main threats to humanity, reports British daily The Guardian in a string of articles extending from October 2014 to January 2015.

It started in October 2014, when Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors, said that AI is "humanity's biggest existential threat" and that, with it, "we are summoning the demon" — a demon humans are unlikely to be able to control.

In December, famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking declared that "the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race." This was followed in January 2015 by a report from the Global Challenges Foundation identifying AI as a major threat among a dozen others. The report states that if AI is not painstakingly programmed to ensure the value of humanity and its survival, the most likely outcome is that computers and robots will simply eliminate humans.

Finally, in January, Microsoft founder Bill Gates pitched in. "I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," he said. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super-intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well," said Gates. "A few decades after that, though, the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned."