Guest essay by Eric Worrall
What new narrative will replace the climate doomsday scare? Elon Musk has not abandoned traditional scare stories such as the looming population crisis, but he seems to be making more effort than most to market test radical revisions of the tired carbon-doom effort.
Elon Musk: ‘Robots will be able to do everything better than us’
Elon Musk is certain that robots will be able to do your job better than you.
And even the billionaire CEO of Tesla and SpaceX is not sure what to do about that.
“There certainly will be job disruption. Because what’s going to happen is robots will be able to do everything better than us. … I mean all of us,” says Musk, speaking to the National Governors Association on Saturday.
“Yeah, I am not sure exactly what to do about this. This is really the scariest problem to me, I will tell you.”
“The thing that is the most dangerous — and it is the hardest to … get your arms around because it is not a physical thing — is a deep intelligence in the network.
“You say, ‘What harm can a deep intelligence in the network do?’ Well, it can start a war by doing fake news and spoofing email accounts and doing fake press releases and by manipulating information,” Musk says to the bipartisan gathering of U.S. governors.
Read more (includes video): http://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/17/elon-musk-robots-will-be-able-to-do-everything-better-than-us.html
The AI scare has a lot of potential. Back in January this year I predicted that fear of malevolent artificial super-intelligence is a likely candidate to replace the failing climate scare.
Hollywood has been supplying the groundwork for the new scare, with a steady stream of stories which include strong AI. Many of the films are horror stories about AI gone wrong.
Table from the January Post (updated: added “Alien: Covenant”), original source Wikipedia
|2001||1||A.I. Artificial Intelligence|
|2003||3||The Matrix Reloaded, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, The Matrix Revolutions|
|2005||1||The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy|
|2008||3||Eagle Eye, Iron Man, WALL-E|
|2009||3||Terminator Salvation, Moon, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen|
|2011||2||Real Steel, Transformers: Dark of the Moon|
|2012||3||Prometheus, Robot & Frank, Total Recall|
|2013||4||Her, Iron Man 3, The Machine, Pacific Rim|
|2014||7||Automata, Big Hero 6, Interstellar, Robocop (2014 film), Transcendence, Transformers: Age of Extinction, X-Men: Days of Future Past|
|2015||8||Ex Machina, Chappie, Tomorrowland, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Terminator Genisys, aka Terminator 5, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Uncanny, Psycho-pass: The Movie|
|2016||3||Max Steel, Morgan, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story|
|2017||3 (so far)||Ghost in the Shell (2017 film), Transformers: The Last Knight, Alien: Covenant|
Good climate scare movies are less common. Other than hilights like “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” (2001), “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004), “An Inconvenient Truth” (2006) and “Snowpiercer” (2014), and the occasional self published effort by activists who clearly wish climate was a bigger issue, production quality climate fiction films have been thin on the ground.
The climate movement will still have a place if the AI scare takes off. The imaginary future world in the Terminator franchise, scorched by nuclear fire and continuously trampled by vast death dealing robots is probably not a green paradise. A.I. Artificial Intelligence was set in a world broken by climate change. Fear of a malevolent corporate AI as an expression and ultimate realisation of mankind’s greed and hubris and over-exploitation of natural resources has obvious potential as a future green narrative.
Is AI a risk? This is the beauty of the new AI scare. Nobody really knows what the risks are, so you can make up pretty much anything you want. I suspect like any new technology AI will create risks – but development of AI will also create new means to combat and contain those risks, and to address many other problems which currently seem unsolvable.
If the AI scare takes off, at the very least it will bring a fresh new injection of uncertainty and fear to a tired and fading climate eco-scare story.