Elon Musk rings the alarm as AI bot beats Dota 2 players

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Dota 2 Fan's Reaction
Fans react during The International Dota 2 Championships at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington August 8, 2015. Reuters/Jason Redmond

Some of the best e-sports gamers in the world have been beaten by an artificially intelligent bot from Elon Musk-backed start-up OpenAI. The AI bested professional gamer Danylo Ishutin in Dota 2, and Musk does not necessarily perceive that as a good thing.

For Musk, it is another indicator that robot overlords are primed to take over. In a tweet after the match, he urged people to be concerned about AI safety, adding it is more of a risk than North Korea.

AI has been one of Musk’s favourite topics. He believes government regulation could struggle to keep up with the advancing AI research. “Until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal,” he told a group of US lawmakers last month.

AI vs e-sports gamers

Musk's tweets came hours following an AI bot’s victory against some of the world's best players of Dota 2, a military strategy game. A blog post by OpenAI states that successfully playing the game involves improvising in unfamiliar scenarios, anticipating how an opponent will move and convincing the opponent's allies to help.

OpenAI is a nonprofit AI company Musk co-founded along with Sam Altman and Peter Thiel. It seeks to research AI and develop the best practices to ensure that the technology is used for good.

Musk has been sounding the alarm on AI, calling it the biggest existential threat of humanity. He laid out a scenario earlier this year, in which AI systems intended to farm strawberries could lead to the destruction of mankind.

But his views on AI have been at odds with those of tech leaders like Mark Zuckerberg, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Amazon's Jeff Bezos. He recently got in a brief public spat with Mark Zuckerberg about how the technology could impact humans.

Zuckerberg believed Musk's prophesising about doomsday scenarios are "irresponsible." The latter was quick to respond on Twitter, pointing Zuckerberg's understanding of the topic was "limited." Both Facebook and Tesla invest in artificial intelligence.

In a National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Rhode Island, Musk announced that he believes AI must be regulated proactively before the need for such limitations to arise. Ultimately, he maintains that AI could lead to the doom of humans. “AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilisation,” news.com.au quotes him as saying.

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