While many nervous eyes around the world are watching rogue nation North Korea and its latest nuclear test, billionaire worry-wart Elon Musk warns that an international artificial intelligence race is more likely to cause World War III than a 20th century-style arms race.
"China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo," the Tesla Motors and SpaceX CEO tweeted early Monday.
The doomy, gloomy prognosticating apparently came in response to reports out of Russia that President Vladimir Putin is also looped in on AI's geopolitical potential.
"Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world," Putin told Russian students via satellite, RT reported.
Putin didn't leave it on such a super-villain-sounding note though, adding: "If we become leaders in this area, we will share this know-how with entire world, the same way we share our nuclear technologies today."
Wait, so is that where North Korea got their... Oh, never mind.
Musk elaborated his concerns further on Twitter, which are less about what governments possess strong AI first and more about decisions that an AI could make on behalf of a government or military to spark world war.
"May be initiated not by the country leaders, but one of the AI's, if it decides that a prepemptive strike is most probable path to victory," he wrote.
. Last month, he .
Musk believes so much in the threat of AI that he has a side project,in order to help keep humans more competitive in the face of emerging AI.
In August,that artificial intelligence poses "vastly more risk than North Korea."
Even as the isolated country ups the ante with its nuclear program, Musk is clearly more concerned with the emergence of killer robots. Let's just hope North Korea doesn't start sharing videos of its new deep learning system that plays a mean game of chess.
If that ever emerges, it's almost certain Musk will never sleep again. That is, if he actually sleeps at all now.
Technically Literate: Original works of short fiction with unique perspectives on tech, exclusively on CNET.
Crowd Control: A crowdsourced science fiction novel written by CNET readers.