Back at the end of July, Facebook was forced to shut down an A.I. that started to speak in its own new language. Basically it had developed its own way of communication, prompting many around the internet to fear that the end had come and we would soon be cowering in fear of our robot overlords. This wasn’t the case and Facebook wasn’t too concerned, but the latest development comes from a different corner of the tech world and someone who feels like that fear is warranted.
Elon Musk, noted crazy rich person and possibly mad scientist, saw one of the many companies he backed pit an A.I. against one of the best DOTA 2 players in the world. The OpenAI bot only needed two weeks to perfect its skills at the game, defeating some of the top players in the world handily. While the contest on Friday with DOTA 2 pro Danylo “Dendi” Ishutin was “highly limited to a few variables of gameplay” according to The Verge, it was still something that prompted Ishutin to say that the bot “feels a little like [a] human, but a little like something else.”
For Musk, the victory was a triumph and pushed A.I. to a point where it was acting in a more complex system than just a game of chess against the greatest players in the world. While DOTA 2 isn’t the most regal game, it does feature a far deeper gameplay than your standard board game. That said, the victory did lead to Musk calling out the dark side of the artificial intelligence, with the Tesla head noting that it is likely a bigger threat than North Korea:
There’s no doubt that it’s possible that A.I. could become a harm to society. We’ve all seen Terminator and, more importantly, the 2014 Johnny Depp technothriller Transcendence. There is a lot of fiction that has planted the seeds of fear across the board, but the reality is far less scary for most people.
But it’s not the first time that Musk has warned about A.I. and the future if we let it grow unchecked, stating back in 2016 that “if artificial intelligence is left unregulated, humans could devolve into the equivalent of “house cats” next to increasingly powerful supercomputers” according to Business Insider.
Whether that actually happens or not is up for debate. Much like his dozen other projects that aim to change the world entirely, A.I. could still fall to the wayside and stop short of its fictional counterparts. And if it doesn’t, none of it will really matter anyway. Hopefully we’ll be living in Musk’s moon fortress by then, warring with the colonies that made it to Mars on the SpaceX star train.