Elon Musk Has Just Laid Out How He Thinks Artificial Intelligence Will Cause World War 3

Elon Musk hasn’t been shy about his reservations about Artificial Intelligence, but now he’s laid out the threat in bare terms.

Musk thinks Artificial Intelligence won’t just cause loss of jobs and a reorganization of the workforce — it can even lead to World War 3. “It beings…,” he wrote on Twitter after sharing an article about how Russian President Vladimir Putin had said that the nation that leads in Artificial Intelligence will rule the world.


“Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind,” Putin had said. “It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” Putin even went on to suggest that future wars will be fought with cutting-edge AI technology, such as with self-propelled drones.

Musk then said that the race to acquire better and superior AI was likely to spur World War 3. As countries tried to outdo each other in their AI capabilities, it would lead to conflict, which could escalate into a full-blown war. Countries with strong background in Computer Science, such as Russia and China, would have an edge, he predicted.


And this war, unlike conventional conflicts, won’t even need to be initiated by a national government. Musk says that in the future, Artificial Intelligence could become so powerful it could start a war on its own, if it thought that it was key to its survival. 

And when a user pointed out that world governments weren’t necessarily at the cutting edge of AI research, Musk said it didn’t matter. The world’s best AI research is currently happening at private labs, but that won’t necessarily stop governments from co-opting it if they felt it met their needs. “Government don’t need to follow conventional laws. They will obtain AI developed from companies at gunpoint, if necessary,” he wrote.

It might look like an unusually bleak outlook towards a scientific field that could radically transform humanity, but Musk has been steadfast in his views on AI. Last month, he’s sparred with Mark Zuckerberg over whether AI was an existential threat. After Zuckerberg had said that his concerns around AI were overblown, Musk put him down by saying that his “understanding of the subject was limited.” Musk certainly seems to think he understands the subject, and is also be putting his money where is mouth is — earlier this year, he’d started a company called Neuralink, that would implant chips into people’s brains to help them not become obsolete when AI takes over.

And while Musk’s theories often seem outlandish, he’s been known to prove his detractors wrong. People said that it was impossible to make an electric car that could compete with conventional cars and he’s gone ahead and done just that; people said that it was impossible for a private company to make a dent in space travel, and he’s well on his way of doing just that. And when he says that Artificial Intelligence could be an existential threat to humanity, we’d do well to listen.