For the benefit of any readers who are not familiar with the term, “binge viewing” is when one gets an entire season or entire box set of a TV series on DVDs and watches them over a short span of time, usually to catch up with a series they just learned about, though some do it for other reasons.
Now on to the topic. Recently, I came across a curious article on the Space Daily website. According to the article, Elon Musk, the founder of Paypal and SpaceX (the folks with the Falcon rocket and Dragon space capsule) posted a comment online that claimed intelligent machines could wind up going after humanity in as little as the next five years.
While Mr. Musk knows quite a bit about the Internet and has done impressive things in the realm of private commercial spaceflight (barring any future catastrophes, it is likely that the first American vehicle to carry astronauts into space will be a Dragon capsule), he seems to have some eccentricities. Personally, his robot comments sound like the result of having binge viewed the SyFy Channel remake of “Battlestar Galactica” or possibly watching a “Terminator” movie marathon. While I am familiar with both productions and have met some people from the “Galactica” program (original and SyFy channel reboot) as well as Linda Hamilton and Kristanna Lokken from the “Terminator” franchise, these are meant as science fiction entertainment, not documentaries on the future.
Or maybe Mr. Musk was reading “R.U.R.” (Rossum’s Universal Robots) by Karel Kapek, the first story (a play, actually) about conflict between humans and artificial intelligence, very late at night. Interestingly, there are some similar elements in both “R.U.R.” and the “Galactica” remake, though in “R.U.R.”, the conflict is caused by human greed and stupidity. Again, a piece of entertainment, not a road map to the future.
So, do you think that Elon Musk was going on about nothing, or do you think his comments have some merit?