Friday, October 24, 2014


Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc, has a history of warning society about the potential dangers posed by research into artificial intelligence, once tweeting that AI could become "more dangerous than nuclear weapons." At today's Centennial Symposium at MIT, Musk expanded on his previous comments, stating:
If I were to guess like what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful with the artificial intelligence. Increasingly scientists think there should be some regulatory oversight maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out.
These comments make me wonder whether Musk is just resorting to a popular metaphor - along the lines of calling AI a "Frankenstein's Monster" - or if he grasps the very real parallels between what today's cutting edge scientists are doing when they work towards creating AI, and what sorcerers, alchemists, and ceremonial magicians have always done when attempting to communicate with or conjure up the powerful dark and primal forces that have haunted our universe since before we were even a twinkle in God (or the Demiurge's) titanic, all-seeing eye.

Readers of sf master Alfred Bester's unjustly neglected novel Golem100 know what I'm talkin' 'bout. That's the cover art, above, btw.

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