AI (Artificial Intelligence) with conscious mind, seems impossible but what can happen will happen eventually. A machine is just a machine, nothing more and nothing less than that. But when machine meets AI then things get complicated, with AI you have a device that can do a lot of work much faster and smarter than humans but still it won’t be able to know what it is actually doing. Once it figure out this thing nothing will be as it is right now for humans, worst case scenario human lives could be in danger.
You might be asking why would that happen, because once it get conscious, it’ll no longer need humans to do it’s work for it, infact it’s us that needs it. Being smarter, faster and stronger than humans we would not be able to fight back.
It all may sound too much to you but it’s a thing that can happen whether you like it or not. There are people who are concerned about this issue. CEO of Tesla and founder of SpaceX, Elon Musk is one of them.
On Thursday, August 29, 2019, Elon Musk and co-founder of Alibaba Jack Ma shared the stage at the World AI Conference in Shanghai to debate AI and its implications for humanity. Written below is the full conversation between these two
Elon Musk: What are we supposed to say? Just things about AI perhaps? Yeah. Okay. Let’s see.
Jack Ma: The AI, right? Okay, great.
Elon Musk: Actually, I’m told that—does AI mean love? There’s like a name, AI, it sort of sounds a bit like love?
Jack Ma: Yeah, AI—I hate the word AI called artificial intelligence. I call it Alibaba intelligence.
Elon Musk: Yeah, might end up being true. You never know.
I think generally, people underestimate the capability of AI. They sort of think like, it’s a smart human. But it’s, it’s really much—it’s going to be much more than that. It’ll be much smarter than the smartest human. It’ll be like, can a chimpanzee really understand humans? Not really, you know. We just seem like strange aliens.
They mostly just care about other chimpanzees. And this will be how it is more or less in relativity. In fact, if the difference is only that small, that would be amazing. Probably it’s much, much greater. So like, the biggest mistake that I see artificial intelligence researchers making is assuming that they’re intelligent. Yeah they’re not, compared to AI. And so like, a lot of them cannot imagine something smarter than themselves, but AI will be vastly smarter—vastly.
So what do you do with a situation like that? I’m not sure. You know. I hope they’re nice. I mean, I have obviously, some, you know, I think in a situation where if you, you know, the old saying, if you can’t beat them, join them.
You know, that’s what Neuralink is about. Can we be able to go along for the ride with AI? I mean, I really think that there should be other companies like Neuralink, essentially, to create a high bandwidth interface to the brain. Because right now, we are already a cyborg.
People don’t realize we are already a cyborg. Because we are so well integrated with our phones and our computers. The phone is almost like an extension of yourself. If you forget your phone, it’s like a missing limb. But the bandwidth, the communication bandwidth to the phone is very low, especially input.
So in fact, input bandwidth to computers has actually gone down, because typing with two thumbs, as opposed to 10 fingers, is a big reduction in bandwidth. Input bandwidth has gone up because of video and imagery. So input bandwidth is many orders of magnitude greater than output bandwidth.
But at a certain point, if we’re just—assuming a benign scenario with AI, we will just be too slow. So you know, I always think like human speech, to a computer, will sound like very slow tonal wheezing. It’s kind of like whale sounds…
Jack Ma: You have a vision about the technology. I’m not a tech guy. I think I’m all about life. I think AI is going to open a new chapter of the society of the world that people try to understand ourselves better, rather than the outside world. And it’s so difficult to predict the future. 99.99 percent of the predictions that human beings had in history about the future—all wrong.Most Popular
Elon Musk: Including that one?
Jack Ma: Oh, yeah. Only you know, 0.01 percent of the predictions are right. They’re right but by accident.
Elon Musk: Yeah. But it’s also true that 80 percent of statistics are false.
Jack Ma: I’m happy about the artificial intelligence, or Alibaba intelligence, that’s going to understand a human, the inside of the human, better. So when people worry a lot about artificial intelligence, people should have more confidence in themselves. Because I think a lot of solutions we don’t have today, but there will be solutions tomorrow. We don’t have solutions but the young people will have solutions. So I’m quite optimistic.
And I don’t think artificial intelligence is a threat. I don’t think artificial intelligence is something terrible, but human beings are smart enough to learn that. And to me, artificial intelligence is just like—people worry a lot about this today are those people, I called them college smartness. People like us, street smart, we aren’t scared of that. We think it’s a great fun, and we want to challenge ourselves to embrace it.
Elon Musk: I don’t know, man, that’s like, famous last words.
We are already a cyborg, because we are so well integrated with our phones and our computers.
Let me tell you, in general, the rate of advancement of computers is insane. A good example would be video games. You know, if you go back 40 years ago, 50 years ago maybe, you had you had Pong, that was just two rectangles and a square. Now, you’ve got photorealistic real-time simulations with millions people playing simultaneously. If you assume any rate of improvement at all, the games will be indistinguishable from reality, you will not be able to tell the difference. Either that or civilization will end. Those are the two options.
But even if the rate of technology improvements slowed down by 1,000, then okay, advanced 1,000 years, or 10,000 years, this is still very tiny. Civilization has been around for probably arguably, I think 7,000 years or something like that. If you counted from the first time there was any writing, any recorded symbols, besides cave paintings, that’s a very tiny amount of time considering the universe is 13.8 billion years old. I mean, if civilization lasted for a million years, you’d only increment the third decimal point after 13.8 billion years. So that seems like a long time given that we’ve only been around for 7,000 years, and it’s been pretty, it’s been kind of a roller coaster, on the civilization front. I’m not trying to be—I’m a naturally optimistic person.
To be clear. I’m not saying hey, doom and gloom. I’m just saying that this is the apparent pattern. The rate of change of technology is incredibly fast. It is outpacing our ability to understand it. Well, I’m not sure, is that good or bad? I don’t know.
It seemed to me some time ago with that you could sort of think of humanity as a biological boot loader for digital super intelligence. For those who don’t know what a boot loader is it’s a very tiny piece of code without which the computer cannot start. But it’s sort of like the minimal bit of code necessary for a computer to start. Like you couldn’t evolve silicon circuits —there needed to be biology to get there.
Jack Ma: Good. Well, let’s talk about something fun. I have a mind that you want to go to Mars. So what will life look like on Mars? Are you both moving? What do you think about that? I’m more interested in the earth, the things what’s going on happening here. So why are you so curious about Mars?Most Popular
Elon Musk: Well, I think the thing about Mars is that I think it’s important for us to take the set of actions that are most likely to continue consciousness into the future. What increases the probability of consciousness, of continuing into the future.
I think we should not take it for granted that consciousness will continue. Because we have not encountered any aliens, where are the aliens? This is the Fermi paradox. This is one of the most important questions. How come we have not found any aliens? There are people out there who think we’ve found aliens. Trust me, I would know. We have not.
I don’t think artificial intelligence is something terrible, but human beings are smart enough to learn that.
People ask me, “Have you been to Area 51?” Okay, please. SpaceX actually has Area 59, it’s even better, eight better than 51. So among the set of actions we can take, that are likely to increase the scope and scale of consciousness such that we are better able to understand the nature of the universe, one of those actions is to become a multi-planet species or ensure that life is multi-planetary, not because I think—it’s not not from the standpoint of it just being an escape hatch, or because I think that Earth is doomed.
But there is a certain probability that is irreducible, that something may happen to us, despite our best intentions, despite everything we try to do. There’s a probability at a certain point that some either external force or some internal unforced error causes civilization to be destroyed. Or sufficiently impaired such that it can no longer extend to another planet.
Let me put it another way. This is the first time in the 4 1/2 billion year history of Earth that it’s been possible to extend life beyond Earth. Before this, it was not possible. How long will this window be open? It may be open for a long time, or it may be open for a short time.
I think it would be wise to assume that it is open for a short time. And then let us secure the future, secure the future of consciousness, such that life of the lights of consciousness is not extinguished. And we should try to do this as quickly as possible. That’s my view.
Jack Ma: Good. It’s so difficult to secure the future of the earth, but we can secure the future of the next 100 years. I admire your courage for exploring Mars, but I admire a lot of people spending efforts on improving the Earth. It’s great to send 1 million people to Mars but we have to care about the 7.4 billion people on the earth.
How can we make the world more sustainable? And I’m not that fond of Mars because I think it’s easy to go to Mars when you go on the top of the hills of the of the of the building, just one step you go to Mars, but you will never be able to come back.
Elon Musk: Yeah. That’s not how it works though.
Jack Ma: I think people spend more time on the earth. Think about it. Because no matter how long the civilization of the human beings will be, like 1 million or 2 million or half million years. But we only have 100 years.
So we cannot solve all the problems of the future. But we have to be responsible for the future. But we should care more about how we can enjoy it better. My view is that by the artificial intelligence or AI, when human beings understand ourselves better, then we can improve the world better.
The last 200 years, human beings tried to understand the other side better, understand the other people better. But I think what I feel excited about with AI is that AI is to understand people, the inside of the human beings.
The earth, I heard you’re going to dig a tunnel deep in the earth, which is amazing. I think anyhow, every time I read the news about your interest in outer space, I look at you with great respect. We need heroes like you. But we need more heroes like us, working hard on the earth, improving things every day. That’s what I want.
Elon Musk: Sure, I mean, to be clear, I’m very pro Earth. When I say, you know, us becoming a multi planet species or extending life beyond Earth, expanding the scope and scale of consciousness, from a resource standpoint, I’m talking about less than 1 percent of Earth’s resources should be dedicated to making life multi-planetary, or making consciousness multi-planetary.
So, you know, I think it should be like, somewhere in between how much we spend on lipstick, and how much we spend on health care.
You know, things like for the preservation of consciousness, we should spend maybe slightly more than we spend on cosmetics. And I’m pro cosmetics, I think they’re great. But, you know, there’s probably worth spending, I don’t know, like at least half a percent of the Earth’s GDP on extending life to be multi planetary, maybe 1 percent, I’d say seems like a good a good use of resources, a wise investment for the future. And obviously, I spend a lot of my time on sustainable energy with Tesla, with electric cars, and solar and batteries and that kind of thing. And I’m really excited to be here in Shanghai for the Shanghai Giga factory.
So, you know, I think it’s like, I really think China is the future. It’s very impressive, and there’s also some great progress on entrepreneurial rocket companies in China as well. I believe two have made orbit, and it’s very difficult, very hard to make orbit. If you make orbit, I have great respect. Because it’s very hard.
I think the Tesla China team has done an amazing job, really mind blowing, like, I’m just astounded by how good the job is, and how much progress has been made. And I think it’s a good story for the world.
The rate of change of technology is incredibly fast. It is outpacing our ability to understand it. Is that good or bad? I don’t know.