Elon Mask warns ‘army of social media bots’ will be first sign of robot uprising

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has warned his 28 million followers on Twitter Artificial Intelligence will soon take control of social media, assuming, he adds, it hasn’t started already.

This is the latest of several warnings about AI from the Tesla boss. He has previously described the rise of self-aware computers as a "fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation."

Today, he tweeted “If advanced AI (beyond basic bots) hasn’t been applied to manipulate social media, it won’t be long before it is.”

A few minutes later he added: "Anonymous bot swarms deserve a closer examination. If they’re evolving rapidly, something’s up.”

It’s already been shown manipulation of social media can produce large, and often dangerous, swings in public opinion.

As one of the responders to Musk’s pair of tweets pointed out: “It doesn't really take 'AI' level tech to manipulate people via social media.

“Basically what Cambridge Analytica did that led us to Trump and Brexit among many other fake 'uprisings' in other countries.”

Musk believes computer scientists are close to creating a true Artificial Intelligence and very soon after the construction of the first AI, it will build others.

Humanity will be quickly reduced to irrelevance, he adds.

He has said he believes AI could be a real threat if not carefully regulated, and the only way to deal with the threat is to build computer interfaces into ourselves.

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“I have exposure to the most cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned by it,” he told the National Governors Association. “ AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation in a way that car accidents, airplane crashes, faulty drugs or bad food were not."

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"They were harmful to a set of individuals within society, of course, but they were not harmful to society as a whole.”

Rob Manuel, who founded B3ta and has built myriad Twitter bots including notorious confessions bot Fesshole, says that social media bots are a powerful way to influence public opinion.

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He told Daily Star Online he thinks Musk is probably right: “All our opinions are largely formed from what goes into our heads, so controlling social media shapes our opinions. Which is why powerful people like to owning media organisations.”

Musk has expressed concerns, too, about the capabilities of robots in the future.

Commenting on Boston Dynamics’ agile humanoid robot Atlas, he said: ““This is nothing. In a few years, that bot will move so fast you’ll need a strobe light to see it. Sweet dreams…”

He has warned that robots will soon be doing all our jobs better than we can – and in a generation or two cheaper than we can: “Transport will be one of the first to go fully autonomous. But when I say everything — the robots will be able to do everything, bar nothing.”

  • Elon Musk
  • Twitter
  • Brexit
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Drugs

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