Elon Musk: Race for AI could start World War III

Competition for AI superiority could spark global conflict, warns entrepreneur.
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director
Image: James Leynse

Entrepreneur Elon Musk has again warned of the risks of artificial intelligence, this time cautioning that competition between nations over AI could spark World War III.

In response to a story quoting Russian president Vladimir Putin saying that whichever country become the leader in AI would "become the ruler of the world," Musk tweeted: "It begins..."

He went on: "China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 IMO," he said.


"May be initiated not by the country leaders, but one of the AI's, if it decides that a prepemptive strike is most probable path to victory," he went on.

When it was pointed out that governments aren't very good at building AI he responded: "Govts don't need to follow normal laws. They will obtain AI developed by companies at gunpoint, if necessary."

Musk has long warned about the risks of AI, recently signing a letter proposing a ban on the development and use of autonomous weapons systems.


In July he warned that AI needed to be regulated better before it was too late, and said that AI is a "fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization" and needs proactive regulatory oversight.

"I have exposure to the very most cutting-edge AI and I think people should be really concerned about it. I keep sounding like an alarm bell, but until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don't know how to react because it seems so ethereal," he told governors.

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