Elon Musk Says Humans Could End Up Ruled by an Immortal AI Dictator

Artificial intelligence has gone from being a part of science fiction books and movies to actually being part of the present. But Elon Musk thinks humans need to be careful to not create an AI that is so powerful it actually takes over the human race.

“We are rapidly headed towards digital superintelligence that far exceeds any human, and I think it’s very obvious,” Musk said in the recently released documentary film Do You Trust This Computer?, directed by Chris Paine.

The film features experts from the fields of medicine, electronics, defense and more who share their thoughts on AI and its rapid advancement. Experts discuss how AI can aid in everything from medical procedures to companionship, while also touching on the ways AI can go wrong.

Musk said that AI must be democratized or else it could end up running the human race: “It would live forever. And then you’d have an immortal dictator from which we can never escape."

A “godlike,” superhuman AI could be dangerous in the hands of a small set of people, like a company, Musk said. He also thinks AI wouldn’t hesitate to destroy what it needed to, including humans, to reach an end goal.

Musk compared it to when humans are building a road and there’s something in the way, like an anthill. “We don’t hate ants, we’re just building a road, and so goodbye, anthill,” he said. The way Musk sees it, the alternative to AI running everything isn’t to avoid it altogether, it’s to integrate it into humans.

During a conference in 2016, Musk detailed what he referred to as a "neural lace" that could help humans keep up with and stay relevant in a world with advanced AI. The neural lace is something his company Neuralink is working on to help increase the data input and output rates of humans.