Elon Musk is scared by Google, but he won’t admit it

Elon Musk’s concerns surrounding artificial intelligence are no secret. Not only has he set up Open AI, a nonprofit to help mediate the growing industry, but he also wrote an open letter with Stephen Hawking about the dangers of AI. Despite those measures, it appears that Musk is still fearful of Google’s AI programme, but he won’t openly admit to it.

Speaking at Recode’s Code Conference, Musk weighed in on how he feels about big tech companies investing time and money into AI and if he’s worried about who’s involved. “I won’t name names,” explained Musk, “but there’s only one [to be worried about]”.

After being pressed by session host Walt Mossberg for more information, Musk could only repeat “There’s only one” which, via the process of elimination, makes me think that Google is the company keeping him up at night.

While Facebook, Apple and Amazon are all working on virtual assistants and natural language processing, Google is the only company making any strides in AI. Not only is Google’s new Google Home device powered by the incredibly powerful Google Assistant, but Google-owned AI company DeepMind has made groundbreaking progress in artificial intelligence. If there’s one company that could bring about the downfall of humanity via robot overlords, it’s Google.

“I don’t know a lot of people who love the idea of living under a despot”, Musk explained as one of the reasons for starting up his Open AI initiative last year. Open AI has never been about competing with others to win the AI race, instead – as Musk puts it – “it’s really just trying to increase the probability that the future will be good”.

“If AI power is broadly distributed to the degree that we can link AI power to each individual’s will… then if somebody did try to do something really terrible, then the collective will of others could overcome that bad actor”.

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