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Elon Musk Wants You to Read This Book to Prepare for How AI Will Affect You

by David K. William | The Web Writer Spotlight: Aug 30, 2017

Elon Musk, CEO and founder of SpaceX, Tesla Motors, and brain-computer interface company Neutralink has in the past recommended books that inspired him a lot when growing up. Now he is recommending a new book released Tuesday by MIT professor Max Tegmark, which addresses the issues of how artificial intelligence (AI) will change all aspects of society.  

The South African-born Canadian-American tech entrepreneur and inventor of such other innovative ideas as SolarCity says people should read “Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial intelligence,” and prepare for the best or worst thing ever for humanity.


Musk Urges Reading of "Life 3.0" to Prepare for AI


“Worth reading Life 3.0 by @Tegmark,” said Musk on his Twitter page. “A.I. will be the best or worst thing ever for humanity, so let’s get it right.”


Rise of AI and It’s Potential Issues


Artificial intelligence, described as the intelligence exhibited by machines, rather than humans or other animals, has a long history dating back to the mid-1950s. Only now does it appear to be really taking off.

Today, the field of AI research involves teaching machines reasoning, prioritization, problem-solving and deduction. AI touches on all aspects of life, including biology, psychology, Mathematics, and Linguistics. AI’s growing popularity is prompting some people including Musk to question whether AI remains safe and beneficial for humanity.  

In an interview about Neuralink last year, Musk said a key focus of this company that wants to enable people to communicate telepathically within 10 years—because who needs text or voice communication—is AI. He stressed the company could help humanity avoid a situation where machines dominate, as the two would form a more symbiotic relationship.

The self-made billionaire, who has repeatedly spoken about how technology will change society in the not-so-distant future, also co-founded the Future of Life Institute to study existential threats to humanity. Last month Musk said AI was a “fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization” because of his very public concerns that AI could soon become much smarter than the smartest human on Earth.  

“I think that is a dangerous situation,” he told a bipartisan gathering of U.S. governors in Rhode Island.



How will Artificial Intelligence affect Humanity?


Some researchers have dismissed Musk’s concerns about AI as alarmist. François Chollet, a researcher in deep learning for Google, expressed his skepticism about Musk’s position, saying on Twitter that while machine learning makes some issues worse, it’s “unclear” it creates any new ones.

But, a recent Forbes article revealed Facebook’s own AI engine had encountered a creepy kind of problem that’s quite unique. Forbes reported:  

“Facebook shut down an artificial intelligence engine after developers discovered that the AI had created its own unique language that humans can’t understand.”

It is obvious AI has the potential to alter our future more than any other technology. Book lovers, for instance, don’t have to wait months or even years anymore for their favorite authors to finish the latest installment of a book series. A software engineer named Zack Thoutt has used AI to write the next Game of Thrones book himself, reports Motherboard. You can read the first five AI chapters of GOT on GitHub.

The exact way artificial intelligence will affect literature, society and our very sense of being human remains to be seen. Musk, however, thinks “Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial intelligence” bears the answers and even poses some questions that would have otherwise gone unasked.

“This is a compelling guide to the challenges and choices in our quest for a great future of life, intelligence and consciousness—on Earth and beyond,” Musk is quoted on the book’s editorial review section.

Read Also: 15 Hotly-Anticipated Books of 2017.


David K. William is a writer, publisher and entrepreneur. Everything he writes is inspired by life experiences and study. David is also founding editor of Follow him on Twitter @DavidKWilliam.

Photo Credit: Getty Images.



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