We humans have got to get a whole lot smarter, says Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of Tesla automobiles and CEO of SpaceX rockets.
Musk is not merely reacting to humanity’s recent tendency to elect lunatics to lead our countries. Rather, he’s trying to warn us about the rapid rise of a radical new technology: Artificial intelligence. In common parlance, he’s referring to robots, but these are not the clunky, somewhat cute machines performing rote tasks. AI essentially has evolved to become an electronic brain – a web of evermore-complex super-computers interacting as one cognitive unit that can program itself, make decisions, and act independently of the humans who’re creating them.