Elon Musk Says People Who Don’t Think AI Could Be Smarter Than Them Are Dumb

by : Cameron Frew on : 23 Jul 2020 10:48
Elon Musk Says People Who Don't Think AI Could Be Smarter Than Them Are DumbElon Musk Says People Who Don't Think AI Could Be Smarter Than Them Are DumbPA Images/20th Century Studios

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says people who don’t believe artificial intelligence could be smarter than humans are simply ‘way dumber than they think they are’. 


It’s not a difficult concept to grasp. As anyone who’s seen 2001: A Space Odyssey or any film from the Terminator franchise can attest, it’s not hard to imagine. Skynet’s reign over civilisation with evolved machines is inching ever ever, it seems.

Musk, chief of SpaceX and new start-up Neuralink, is working at the forefront of AI commentary. According to the tech entrepreneur, ‘we should be concerned’ about where the field is going.

Elon MuskElon MuskPA Images

The 49-year-old isn’t wrong when he said he’s been ‘banging this AI drum for a decade’. In 2018 at SXSW, Musk warned the possibility of AI is more dangerous than nuclear warheads and ‘capable of vastly more than almost anyone knows… the rate of improvement is exponential’.


On Wednesday, July 22, as Business Insider reports, Musk said: 

We should be concerned about where AI is going. The people I see being the most wrong about AI are the ones who are very smart, because they can’t imagine that a computer could be way smarter than them. That’s the flaw in their logic. They’re just way dumber than they think they are.

While it’s unlikely we’ll find ourselves in an Ex Machina situation any time soon, Musk believes smart people ‘don’t like the idea that a machine could be way smarter than them, so they discount the idea – which is fundamentally flawed’, CNBC reports.

Mark Zuckerberg Got $27.3 Billion Richer In 2019Mark Zuckerberg Got $27.3 Billion Richer In 2019PA Images

Warning that AI could be a threat to humanity in the future, Musk added: 

This is a case where you have a very serious danger to the public… it needs to be a public body that has insight and then oversight to confirm that everyone is developing AI safely… and mark my words, AI is far more dangerous than nukes. Far. So why do we have no regulatory oversight? This is insane.

Not everybody is quite so pessimistic. In 2017, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg described the drumming up of doomsday AI scenarios as ‘really negative’ and ‘pretty irresponsible’.

On a Facebook Live broadcast, Zuckerberg added: 


But people who are arguing for slowing down the process of building AI — I just find that really questionable. I have a hard time wrapping my head around that. If you’re arguing against AI, then you’re arguing against safer cars that aren’t going to have accidents, and you’re arguing against being able to better diagnose people when they’re sick.

Musk later responded to Zuckerberg’s comments, writing on Twitter: ‘I’ve talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.’

Countdown to Judgement Day, I suppose.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Technology, AI, Artificial Intelligence, Elon Musk, future, Now


Business Insider and 2 others
  1. Business Insider

    Elon Musk said people who don't think AI could be smarter than them are 'way dumber than they think they are'

  2. CNBC

    Elon Musk: ‘Mark my words — A.I. is far more dangerous than nukes’

  3. Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook