Elon Musk says backflipping robot is ‘nothing’ compared to bots so advanced humans will struggle to see them

The Tesla founder is worried that people will unintentionally develop something unsafe

Aatif Sulleyman
Monday 27 November 2017 13:27
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Boston Dynamics releases video of Atlas robot's new tricks

Elon Musk has issued a new warning about advanced machines.

The Tesla founder, who has been highly critical of artificial intelligence developers over recent months, has revealed his thoughts on Atlas, the backflipping humanoid robot.

A video released by Boston Dynamics earlier this month shows the machine backflip off a raised platform, land perfectly on its feet and raise its arms in the air as if to celebrate.

“This is nothing,” Mr Musk tweeted in response to the footage. “In a few years, that bot will move so fast you’ll need a strobe light to see it. Sweet dreams…”

After being asked to clarify exactly what he meant by the strobe light comment, he added, “Otherwise you’d only see a blur.”

He then followed this up with an update calling for the regulation of AI and robotics, something he believes to be not only necessary but urgent.

“Got to regulate AI/robotics like we do food, drugs, aircraft & cars. Public risks require public oversight. Getting rid of the FAA wdn’t make flying safer. They’re there for good reason.”

As pointed out by François Chollet, a machine learning and artificial intelligence software engineer at ‎Google, Atlas isn’t an AI bot.

He believes Mr Musk’s comments are supposed to be less literal, and instead apply to the progress of AI development.

Mr Musk has made no secret of his belief that AI will be a threat to people, last week saying we have a “five to 10 percent chance” of making it safe.

He has also repeatedly called for the companies working on AI to slow down to ensure they don’t unintentionally build something unsafe, and says he’s worried that a handful of major companies will end up in control of AI systems with “extreme” levels of power.

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