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Elon Musk says the gap between us and AI is like the difference between chimps and humans

What comes to mind when you hear the words “artificial intelligence”?

Perhaps you think of Apple’s digital assistant, Siri, or Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons? Perhaps you think of Haley Joel Osment as a robot boy in the 2001 film, AI?

Elon Musk thinks you’re looking at it all wrong.

“I think generally people underestimate the capability of AI – they sort of think it’s a smart human,” Musk said at a talk with Alibaba CEO Jack Ma at the World AI Conference in Shanghai, China this week.

“But it’s going to be much more than that. It will be much smarter than the smartest human.”

For context, Musk compared the difference between AI and humans to the difference between humans and chimpanzees.

“Can a chimpanzee really understand humans? Not really,” he said. “We just seem like strange aliens. They mostly just care about other chimpanzees. And this will be how it is, more or less.”

Moreover, he couched that context in optimism: “In fact, if the difference is only that small, that would be amazing – probably it’s much, much greater.” It’s this stark difference in intellectual capacity between AI and human beings that has Musk worried for the future of our species.

“What do you do with a situation like that? I’m not sure. I hope they’re nice,” he said.

That’s why, he said, he founded his company Neuralink.

“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em – that’s what Neuralink is about. Can we go along for the ride with AI?”

Check out the full video of the talk with Musk and Ma right here.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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