AI is a "fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization."

Tesla CEO, founder, and ideologist Elon Musk called for decisive government regulation of artificial intelligence, appearing before a meeting of the National Governor’s Association. He warned U.S. governors that AI is "fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization" and asked them to oversee the technology’s development.

“On the artificial intelligence front, I have access to the very most cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it,” Musk answered a question during a session with Nevada governor Brian Sandoval. “AI’s a rare case where we need to be proactive in regulation, instead of reactive. Because by the time we are reactive with AI regulation, it’s too late. AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization, in a way that car accidents, airplane crashes, faulty drugs, or bad food were not.”

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Musk warned that government regulation over AI development is vital because companies need to make sure “this is safe” first. The South African-born, Canadian-American engineer and inventor believes there should be rules for “all players in the game” because this will put them in an equivalent position.

“Right now the government doesn’t even have insight,” Musk told the governors on Saturday. “Once there is awareness people will be extremely afraid, as they should be.”

Musk’s biggest concerns are related to the possibility of robots harming humans. “[They] could start a war by doing fake news and spoofing email accounts and fake press releases, and just by manipulating information. The pen is mightier than the sword.”

The founder of SpaceX also spoke about solar energy, space travel, self-driving cars, and other emerging technologies during the session, where he also met privately with some of the governors, including Louisiana Democrat John Bel Edwards. The two discussed the new law signed in Louisiana that Tesla says blocks it from selling cars in the state.

Source: Automotive News, CNBC and Fortune