Why Elon Musk is right about the threat posed by Russian artificial intelligence

Last updated: 06-12-2019

Read original article here

Why Elon Musk is right about the threat posed by Russian artificial intelligence

Elon Musk warns battle for AI supremacy will spark Third World War
Elon Musk / Getty Images
Wednesday 6 September 2017 11:47 BST
Click to follow
The Independent Tech
Elon Musk is worried about governments, specifically the Russian one, competing for artificial intelligence superiority and sparking World War III. That shocking statement was made all the more shocking by the low expectations the world seems to have for Russia , which US Senator John McCain dismissed just a few years ago as a “gas station masquerading as a country.” 
Recent remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin grabbed Musk's attention. Speaking to schoolchildren about AI on 1 September, Putin declared, “Whoever becomes the leader in this area will rule the world.” Musk's response emerged on Twitter: “It begins...”
China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2017
Actually, Russia isn't “beginning” anything when it comes to AI. It's just that its progress in the field has been somewhat below the radar: We are used to discussing AI in the context of major Silicon Valley companies' or top US universities' advances, and while Russians work there, the top names are not Russian. Nor are the top thinkers and investors in the field. IBM's recent list of “AI influencers” only includes one native Russian speaker, University of Lousiville's Roman Yampolskiy — who, like Musk, worries about a possible “AI apocalypse” — and he's originally from Latvia, not Russia.
Russia is awful at commercialising and promoting technological advances. Prisma, an AI application that literally redrew photos to make them look like paintings by a number of famous artists, took post-Soviet countries by storm last year and won some interest in the U.S. but failed to become a global phenomenon. Other Russian AI startups are only known to experts, and while large Russian information technology companies such as Yandex and Mail.ru Group have invested a lot of resources in AI research and built products using neural networks (Yandex search, more popular than Google in Russia, is powered by proprietary neural tech), these achievements are overshadowed by those of bigger Western rivals. Even Russian venture capitalists appear to be looking for AI opportunities outside the home country. 
And yet there's plenty of AI research going on in Russia. The Moscow Engineering Physics Institute's Alexei Samsonovich's is engaged in a quest for “emotionally intelligent” AI and the government is applying the technology to intitatives on electronic government and the military. Russia ranks fourth in the world, after the US, China and India and ahead of the UK, in terms of the number of people who use Kaggle — the crowdsourcing platform used by most AI researchers, which was acquired by Google this year. 
The first loan the BRICS Development Bank — a financial institution set up jointly by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — has approved for Russia is meant to fund a project that includes the use of AI in Russian courts to automate trial records using speech recognition. 
State-sponsored media reports on the potential military uses of AI have picked up in recent months. They include an AI system to help pilots fly fighter planes, a project by St. Petersburg-based Kronstadt Group to equip drones with artificial intelligence, a similar effort for missiles by the Tactical Missiles Corporation, and a Kalashnikov combat module using neural networks. The details of these efforts are not public, and the agencies may be exaggerating their importance for propaganda effect. But Russia is known to be experimenting with network-centric warfare — including during its Syrian military operation — so AI implementations are a logical step.
It's likely that, as in Soviet times, the military applications of AI in Russia are outpacing consumer ones. With guaranteed government financing, they face fewer constraints than Russian private companies or academic researchers do, given the Silicon-Valley-centric nature of the business.
Musk is right to suggest that China is not the only potential US rival in the kind of artificial intelligence that will soon do far more sinister things than those for which we use Siri. Given its number of Kaggle users, India shouldn't be too far behind. Last month's call by Musk and a group of AI researchers for a global ban on robotic weapons is timely but probably unworkable: The use of ostensibly conventional but actually autonomous weaponry is far more difficult to detect, making a prohibition on them harder to enforce than existing bans on chemical and biological weapons, or even than restrictions on various forms of cyberwarfare would have been. Besides, countries such as Russia, China and India will be wary of any such regulatory efforts initiated in the West.
Gadgets and tech news in pictures
Gadgets and tech news in pictures
1/43
Designed by Pierpaolo Lazzarini from Italian company Jet Capsule. The I.F.O. is fuelled by eight electric engines, which is able to push the flying object to an estimated top speed of about 120mph.
Jet Capsule/Cover Images
2/43
A humanoid robot gestures during a demo at a stall in the Indian Machine Tools Expo, IMTEX/Tooltech 2017 held in Bangalore
Getty Images
3/43
A humanoid robot gestures during a demo at a stall in the Indian Machine Tools Expo, IMTEX/Tooltech 2017 held in Bangalore
Getty Images
4/43
Engineers test a four-metre-tall humanoid manned robot dubbed Method-2 in a lab of the Hankook Mirae Technology in Gunpo, south of Seoul, South Korea
Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images
5/43
Engineers test a four-metre-tall humanoid manned robot dubbed Method-2 in a lab of the Hankook Mirae Technology in Gunpo, south of Seoul, South Korea
Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images
6/43
The giant human-like robot bears a striking resemblance to the military robots starring in the movie 'Avatar' and is claimed as a world first by its creators from a South Korean robotic company
Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images
7/43
Engineers test a four-metre-tall humanoid manned robot dubbed Method-2 in a lab of the Hankook Mirae Technology in Gunpo, south of Seoul, South Korea
Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images
Waseda University's saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi
Rex
9/43
Waseda University's saxophonist robot WAS-5, developed by professor Atsuo Takanishi and Kaptain Rock playing one string light saber guitar perform jam session
Rex
10/43
A test line of a new energy suspension railway resembling the giant panda is seen in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China
Reuters
11/43
A test line of a new energy suspension railway, resembling a giant panda, is seen in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China
Reuters
12/43
A concept car by Trumpchi from GAC Group is shown at the International Automobile Exhibition in Guangzhou, China
Rex
13/43
A Mirai fuel cell vehicle by Toyota is displayed at the International Automobile Exhibition in Guangzhou, China
Reuters
A visitor tries a Nissan VR experience at the International Automobile Exhibition in Guangzhou, China
Reuters
15/43
A man looks at an exhibit entitled 'Mimus' a giant industrial robot which has been reprogrammed to interact with humans during a photocall at the new Design Museum in South Kensington, London
Getty
16/43
A new Israeli Da-Vinci unmanned aerial vehicle manufactured by Elbit Systems is displayed during the 4th International conference on Home Land Security and Cyber in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv
Getty
17/43
Electrification Guru Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart talks about the electric Jaguar I-PACE concept SUV before it was unveiled before the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S
Reuters
18/43
The Jaguar I-PACE Concept car is the start of a new era for Jaguar. This is a production preview of the Jaguar I-PACE, which will be revealed next year and on the road in 2018
AP
19/43
Japan's On-Art Corp's CEO Kazuya Kanemaru poses with his company's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot 'TRX03' and other robots during a demonstration in Tokyo, Japan
Reuters
Japan's On-Art Corp's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot 'TRX03'
Reuters
21/43
Japan's On-Art Corp's eight metre tall dinosaur-shaped mechanical suit robot 'TRX03' performs during its unveiling in Tokyo, Japan
Reuters
22/43
Singulato Motors co-founder and CEO Shen Haiyin poses in his company's concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China
Reuters
The interior of Singulato Motors' concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China
Reuters
Singulato Motors' concept car Tigercar P0
Reuters
A picture shows Singulato Motors' concept car Tigercar P0 at a workshop in Beijing, China
Reuters
26/43
Connected company president Shigeki Tomoyama addresses a press briefing as he elaborates on Toyota's "connected strategy" in Tokyo. The Connected company is a part of seven Toyota in-house companies that was created in April 2016
Getty
27/43
A Toyota Motors employee demonstrates a smartphone app with the company's pocket plug-in hybrid (PHV) service on the cockpit of the latest Prius hybrid vehicle during Toyota's "connected strategy" press briefing in Tokyo
Getty
28/43
An exhibitor charges the battery cells of AnyWalker, an ultra-mobile chasis robot which is able to move in any kind of environment during Singapore International Robo Expo
Getty
29/43
A robot with a touch-screen information apps stroll down the pavillon at the Singapore International Robo Expo
Getty
30/43
An exhibitor demonstrates the AnyWalker, an ultra-mobile chasis robot which is able to move in any kind of environment during Singapore International Robo Expo
Getty
31/43
Robotic fishes swim in a water glass tank displayed at the Korea pavillon during Singapore International Robo Expo
Getty
32/43
An employee shows a Samsung Electronics' Gear S3 Classic during Korea Electronics Show 2016 in Seoul, South Korea
Reuters
33/43
Visitors experience Samsung Electronics' Gear VR during the Korea Electronics Grand Fair at an exhibition hall in Seoul, South Korea
Getty
34/43
Amy Rimmer, Research Engineer at Jaguar Land Rover, demonstrates the car manufacturer's Advanced Highway Assist in a Range Rover, which drives the vehicle, overtakes and can detect vehicles in the blind spot, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire
PA wire
35/43
Chris Burbridge, Autonomous Driving Software Engineer for Tata Motors European Technical Centre, demonstrates the car manufacturer's GLOSA V2X functionality, which is connected to the traffic lights and shares information with the driver, during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire
PA wire
36/43
Ford EEBL Emergency Electronic Brake Lights is demonstrated during the first demonstrations of the UK Autodrive Project at HORIBA MIRA Proving Ground in Nuneaton, Warwickshire
PA
37/43
Full-scale model of 'Kibo' on display at the Space Dome exhibition hall of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Tsukuba Space Center, in Tsukuba, north-east of Tokyo, Japan
EPA
38/43
Miniatures on display at the Space Dome exhibition hall of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Tsukuba Space Center, in Tsukuba, north-east of Tokyo, Japan. In its facilities, JAXA develop satellites and analyse their observation data, train astronauts for utilization in the Japanese Experiment Module 'Kibo' of the International Space Station (ISS) and develop launch vehicles
EPA
39/43
The robot developed by Seed Solutions sings and dances to the music during the Japan Robot Week 2016 at Tokyo Big Sight. At this biennial event, the participating companies exhibit their latest service robotic technologies and components
Getty
40/43
The robot developed by Seed Solutions sings and dances to music during the Japan Robot Week 2016 at Tokyo Big Sight
Getty
41/43
Government and industry are working together on a robot-like autopilot system that could eliminate the need for a second human pilot in the cockpit
AP
42/43
Aurora Flight Sciences' technicians work on an Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automantion System (ALIAS) device in the firm's Centaur aircraft at Manassas Airport in Manassas, Va.
AP
43/43 Flight Simulator
Stefan Schwart and Udo Klingenberg preparing a self-built flight simulator to land at Hong Kong airport, from Rostock, Germany
EPA
AI is far more dangerous as part of weapons than as a potential replacement of the human brain in civilian applications. Nations will be killing with AI long before the technology can cause mass unemployment. In this sense, Musk's alarmism — and Putin's words about AI-based global dominance — should be taken seriously.
Bloomberg


Read the rest of this article here