Researchers Accuse Elon Musk of Irresponsible Representation of AI
Ashley Allen / 4 years ago
Electric car and clean energy magnate Elon Musk is a famed investor in artificial intelligence, though, at every opportunity, he has expressed great concern over the future of AI, branding its “our greatest existential threat” and its creation akin to “summoning the demon,” earning him a nomination for the Luddite of the Year award last year. Unsurprisingly, a number of AI researchers have not taken kindly to Musk’s fearmongering, with many beginning to speak out about the damage such statements do to public perception of AI.
“You’re putting a red cloth in front of a bull,” Oren Etzioni, CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, told Inverse when asked about Musk’s habit. “Elon Musk is irresponsible, disingenuous, and I just can’t understand why he does what he does.”
Etzioni is active in the AI community, in touch with many scientists and researchers. It seems Etzioni’s low opinion of how Musk expresses himself publicly on the subject of AI is unanimous amongst his peers. “I’ve never heard anybody have anything good to say about Elon Musk,” he revealed. “They might be out there, I just haven’t heard it. Not a fan.”
Musk’s outbursts on AI confuse Etzioni, since the Tesla CEO has majorly invested in AI research during recent years – he was an early backer of DeepMind, the AI company now owned by Google – and even implemented such technology in the Autopilot function of his electric cars. “[Musk] invests in A.I., heavily — not just in Tesla, but in other investments that he’s made,” Etzioni said. “At the same time, he uses literally religious imagery to attack and impugn the field. So, I don’t get it.”
Stephan Bugaj is Vice President of Creative at Hanson Robotics, shares Etzioni’s opinion, accusing Musk of making the adoption of AI by humanity more difficult with his inflammatory comments. “You have guys like Elon Musk going around, these big shots who are basically saying we should be afraid of robots,” Bugaj said. “I would say, well, why? Are they making robots that we should be afraid of? And if not, why aren’t they saying anything, loudly? Say, ‘No, we do create the future that we will have for ourselves, and we’re not doing that.’”