Elon Musk called out by creepy artificial intelligence robot

The CEO who helped inspire "Iron Man" worries about AI gone rogue, and now a smart bot has finally taken him to task.

Eric Mack
Eric Mack Contributing Editor
Contributing editor Eric Mack covers space, science, climate change and all things futuristic. His encrypted email for tips is ericcmack@protonmail.com.

After years of warning of the dangers of artificial intelligence, Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk finally got into it with an AI robot this week. 

CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin interviewed Sophia, Hanson Robotics' artificially intelligent humanoid robot designed to look like Audrey Hepburn on stage at the Future Investment Initiative in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. When Sorkin brought up worries about the future of AI, Sophia responded, "You've been reading too much Elon Musk."

Over the years, Musk has referred to the potential dangers of AI as "summoning the demon" and more concerning than the prospect of nuclear conflict with North Korea.

He later responded to the bot's dig in a snarky tweet: "Just feed it 'The Godfather' movies as input. What's the worst that could happen?"

Other tech luminaries take Sophia's side of the beef. Musk and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg memorably had a brief tiff on the topic earlier this year. Zuckerberg said AI naysayers like Musk who play up "doomsday scenarios" are "pretty irresponsible," and Musk retorted that Zuckerberg's "understanding of the subject is limited."

But the rest of the robot's response is a little creepy and makes you wonder if the real Iron Man's misgivings on AI aren't misfounded.

"Don't worry, if you're nice to me, I'll be nice to you. Treat me as a smart input-output system," Sophia said.

Uh-oh. Does Sophia know we haven't always been nice to robots? Suddenly this joke it told last year about destroying humans isn't so funny:

Hopefully the fact that she was also given Saudi citizenship during her interview with Sorkin will quell the robots' wrath.