Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter to share his thoughts on the dangers of artificial intelligence (Al) taking control of social media, suggesting that online bots might be a sign that this has already happened.
Musk, who has been a longstanding critic of unregulated use of Al, added another statement to his long list of previously expressed warnings by arguing on Thursday that “if advanced AI (beyond basic bots) hasn’t been applied to manipulate social media, it won’t be long before it is”.
If advanced AI (beyond basic bots) hasn’t been applied to manipulate social media, it won’t be long before it is— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 26, 2019
Just few minutes later, the founder and lead designer of SpaceX added that “anonymous bot swarms deserve a closer examination. If they’re evolving rapidly, something’s up”.
Anonymous bot swarms deserve a closer examination. If they’re evolving rapidly, something’s up.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 26, 2019
Rob Manuel, who is the founder of the website B3ta and the creator of multiple Twitter bots, has told the Daily Star Online that he agrees with Musk, bearing in mind the large swings in public opinion that can be produced by manipulation on social media.
“All our opinions are largely formed from what goes into our heads, so controlling social media shapes our opinions. Which is why powerful people like to owning media organisations", Manuel said.
Musk’s 28-million-audience supported his warning, while also pointing out that the Tesla CEO’s tweet does not necessarily indicate that he is not one of the social media bots himself.
this is exactly what a bot would say— codyb (@CodyBrown) September 26, 2019
How do we even how this “Elon Musk” isn’t some AI trying to spread dad joke memes to the world?— All The Fiends (@TylerDoor) September 26, 2019
Musk has previously expressed a number of concerns about the dangers of unregulated development of artificial intelligence, as well as the evolving capabilities of Al-empowered robots in the future. He particularly warned about the next world war being caused by competition for Al at the national level and the general deterioration of humanity.
“I have exposure to the most cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned by it”, Musk said at the National Governors Association in July 2017. “AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation in a way that car accidents, airplane crashes, faulty drugs or bad food were not — they were harmful to a set of individuals within society, of course, but they were not harmful to society as a whole".
That same year, the Tesla CEO, while replying to a Twitter post about a skilful humanoid robot made by Boston Robotics jumping to different surfaces, said that “in a few years that bot will move so fast you’ll need a strobe light to see it”, which promoted even more fears about Al advances among the public.