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Artificial Intelligence

Say what? Did Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLAC) CEO Elon Musk just say that countries competing on artificial intelligence would “likely” create a case for World War III? Apparently so.

Musk’s inspiration came from recent events involving North Korea, its hydrogen bomb tests and other countries such as Russia and China – all of whom have strong programs in computer science.


Take Me To Your Leader

The theory on which Musk operates is a little “science-fictionish” to say the least. He supposes that countries developing AI will not trigger global conflict but that the AI developed by these countries will ultimately decide that the best way to become the dominant force on Earth will be to launch an all-out nuclear attack.

Critics believe Musk is mistaken, suggesting he doesn’t understand AI very well. Musk counters that when it comes to mistakes the biggest one is allowing international state-driven pursuit of AI tech which isn’t bound by ordinary legal requirements and safeguards.


Musk advocates something he calls OpenAI, which aims to pursue development of artificial intelligence in the open where it can be properly vetted. He also founded Neuralink, an entity that wants to help combine human brains with AI tech to avoid humanity from becoming obsolete.

As a window into Musk’s concerns, in the launch blog post for OpenAI he said this: “It’s hard to fathom how much human-level AI could benefit society, and it’s equally hard to imagine how much it could damage society if built or used incorrectly.”

Meanwhile This From Google

Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOGC) has started ramping up its presence in China as a way to hire engineers who specialize in AI. After posting at least four AI-related jobs on its career site in Beijing, the company seems to have recovered from a 2010 pullback from China following concerns over censorship and cyberattack in which some of the company’s computer code was stolen.

Posted jobs include a technical lead to develop a team to work on natural language processing, data compression and other machine learning technologies. In addition, at least two of the jobs relate to machine learning in Google’s cloud-computing operation.


Apple Enters The Mix

All major tech companies are interested in AI, some to a greater degree than others. The desire to gain a foothold is creating a problem for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPLB). The company is well-known for its penchant for secrecy. Secrecy is hard to maintain if you plan to advertise for talent in the AI space. Once you advertise a job, everyone knows what you want to do with that talent.

While Apple has been slow to join the growing throng of companies willing to let the world know of their interest in AI – not to mention having a willingness to let employees take credit for innovations – it is coming around. So far, though, the volume of Apple’s published research in AI is tiny compared to the competition.

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