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Elon Musk Is Paying For Free Streaming of a New Documentary about AI Dangers (syfy.com) 185

An anonymous reader quotes Syfy.com: There's a new documentary warning about the perils of artificial intelligence out there, and Elon Musk wants you to see it. So much so that he's making it available to stream for free this weekend. The documentary -- Do You Trust This Computer? -- explores the rise of machine intelligence and its possible consequences... Check out the trailer, and then proceed to be creeped way the hell out.... "It's a subject that I feel we should be paying close attention to," said Musk in a news release. "I think it's important that a lot people see this movie, so I'm paying for it to be seen to the world for free this weekend."
Musk attended the premier of the film with the creator of HBO's Westworld, and tweeted Saturday that the video had 5 million views in just 36 hours.

Musk himself is interviewed in the film, warning of the dire possibility of "an immortal dictator from which we can never escape."
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Elon Musk Is Paying For Free Streaming of a New Documentary about AI Dangers

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  • Free? (Score:2, Insightful)

    Can anyone ever tell me of a documentary you had to pay to see? How is this news?
    • Re:Free? (Score:5, Informative)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <slashdot@nOSpam.worf.net> on Sunday April 08, 2018 @04:10AM (#56400575)

      Can anyone ever tell me of a documentary you had to pay to see? How is this news?

      Except for ones shown on TV, practically all documentaries are pay to watch. Most of them debut during a film festival (you pay to see it in a theatre), but then often are then available for purchase on disc, online streaming, or digital purchase through the many online stores.

      Some of them make it to Netflix, eventually (years later), but there are a ton of independent documentaries out there. The other problem is unless there's a lot of interest, it's not even available to pirate.

      • Except for ones shown on TV, YouTube, and all over the rest of the internet, practically all documentaries are pay to watch.

        FTFY

        • Those tend to be old documentaries. During initial release, most people pay. Like most products, they try to eke out as much profit as possible during the paid run. Then they license it to ad-based services like You Tube to receive a second stream of revenue.

      • Except for ones shown on TV, practically all documentaries are pay to watch..

        So except for the ones most people watch...

        Some of them make it to Netflix, eventually (years later), but there are a ton of independent documentaries out there

        I think you're exaggerating a bit. Between FTA TV, Netflix which most people already have so it's effectively free, and YouTube, most docos watched are not being specifically paid for by the watcher. Film festivals and docos at theatres make up a very very small percentage of views.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Usually, you pay for them either by watching commercials (which are paid for by the products you buy) or by paying for a subscription to some channel. In some countries, you pay for them through taxes. They are rarely free.

      • If you're going there then this isn't free either as I need to buy a device, an internet connection and pay for electricity in order to watch it.
    • by Whibla ( 210729 )

      Can anyone ever tell me of a documentary you had to pay to see?

      An Inconvenient Truth [wikipedia.org]. The name strikes me as strangely apposite, considering the 'tone' of your questions.

      How is this news?

      This is the first time I have heard of the documentary and the first time I have heard of Musk's offer to pay for anyone who wanted to to watch it, hence it's news.

      Any other questions?

      • An Inconvenient Truth [wikipedia.org]. The name strikes me as strangely apposite, considering the 'tone' of your questions.

        Did you pay to see it? I didn't.

        This is the first time I have heard of the documentary

        So Slashdot is now the TV guide?

        and the first time I have heard of Musk's offer to pay for anyone who wanted to to watch it, hence it's news.

        Is that news because of Elon Musk, or do all 'person sponsors film' stories deserve a place on Slashdot?

        Any other questions?

        Yes, do you have posters of Elon Musk on your bedroom wall?

        • by Whibla ( 210729 )

          Did you pay to see it? I didn't.

          Yes, I got it out on DVD from Blockbusters roughly 10 years ago. It cost me about £2. The fact that the film grossed about $50 million worldwide shows that I was far from the only one... but, depending on the price of your cable subscription, lucky you, you saved yourself a few quid / bucks there.

          So Slashdot is now the TV guide? Is that news because of Elon Musk, or do all 'person sponsors film' stories deserve a place on Slashdot?

          No, and perhaps partially the former, though I'd say it's not a given. "News for Nerds":

          News is, generally, newly received or noteworthy information, especially about recent events, or, more specifically in t

          • Hopefully you'll come to realise this, as carrying that much bitterness around with you is not good for your health.

            Now this raises another question. How did you equate me asking a question with me being bitter? Maybe stop trying to figure what you think I'm trying to say and just focus on what I'm actually saying. As you said, it's better for your health...

  • Obligatory XKCD (Score:4, Informative)

    by itsme1234 ( 199680 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @03:48AM (#56400535)

    https://xkcd.com/1968/ [xkcd.com]

    Also isn't "this weekend" referred in TFS the wrong one for the vast majority (if not the entirety) of the world?

  • Hidden Inferences (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @04:03AM (#56400561)

    Just because it's alarmist doesn't mean the film is wrong. I'm most worried about the fact that the creators of neural networks often don't understand how they are operating; as in, why it has the inferences it does. I wonder if it's possible to train a neural net, then iteratively reduce its complexity without affecting its performance, down to the point where we can understand its operation.

    • A complicated neural net is not always the problem. Very often, the neural net is too simple for our understanding of the problem. Adding "complications" to the network (that is, discrete serialized steps, repeated instructions, or other non-neurally algos) would actually make it easier to understand.

  • by sheramil ( 921315 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @04:06AM (#56400569)

    I've watched this to about the nine minute mark, at which point it froze, waiting, I presume for the stream to continue. So far, I've seen a lot of woo and the usual modern glitter; rapid montages of computer graphics, fish-eye lens shots of people stroking touchscreens, and infrequent and REALLY ANNOYING deliberate "glitches" where the screen flickers and distorts with that squeaky Hollywood "computer video malfunction" sound. A couple of respected people in the field offering their opinions; some vox pops of kids and just good old every day folk admitting they use computers a lot, and for Christ's sake, that shot from "Terminator 2:Judgement Day" where the T-800 crushes a skull with its metal foot.

    The bias is obvious, and I'll keep watching as soon as the buffer opens again, but I'll be surprised if anyone in this comes even close to a solution to the problem it's posing.

    (Incidentally, getting really tired of hearing pundits say "We're making advances in ageing studies which means we could be immortal soon." What you mean "we", white man?)

    • "We're making advances in ageing studies which means we could be immortal soon." What you mean "we", white man?

      Access to immortality will be decided by money. No need to get racist about it, although I do realise that the use of "white man" as a pejorative is perfectly acceptable in this day and age.

      • "We're making advances in ageing studies which means we could be immortal soon." What you mean "we", white man?

        Access to immortality will be decided by money. No need to get racist about it, although I do realise that the use of "white man" as a pejorative is perfectly acceptable in this day and age.

        Immortality is not possible. If a person will never die because of illness, it doesn't mean that it will be impossible to die because of accident. And if a person has infinite lifespan - ignoring the likely heat death of the universe - In that infinity, there will be fatal accidents for all who choose to live forever.

        As for the "white man" racist pejorative, in the near future, "white" as a race will shift into being a large minority in the US of A. I'm wondering if it will still be acceptable to be rac

      • getting really tired of hearing pundits say "We're making advances in ageing studies which means we could be immortal soon." What you mean "we", white man?

        No need to get racist about it, although I do realise that the use of "white man" as a pejorative is perfectly acceptable in this day and age.

        OMG -- Do you all really not get this? I guess maybe I am old. Or, "younger people" don't have the same frame of reference that I do. Generalizing way too much here -- we used to stare at books and TVs "all" of the time with information coming from a "few" sources. Now we stare at our phones with ideas and incomplete thoughts coming in from everywhere, brilliant and inane.

        The Lone Ranger and Tonto get surrounded by hundreds of armed Indians.

        The Lone Ranger says, "It looks like we've had it this t

        • Yes, Netflix DVDs are still a thing, and I am certain that I am not the only person who finds ripping Redbox DVDs to be more convenient than downloading video files of indeterminate quality.

    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      Racist fuck.

    • ...that shot from "Terminator 2:Judgement Day" where the T-800 crushes a skull with its metal foot.

      That whole scene in the future was really impressive in the cinema, back in the day.

  • Knock out all electronics on earth... we should be developing that first :)
    • I still have a vacuum tube oscilloscope. So I'll be in charge of troubleshooting and repair after the EMP.

      • Thats how the T2 was originally designed... with Vacuum Tubes. and of course YouTube will be alright... the humor gets worse.. :(
  • by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @04:15AM (#56400585)

    Personally I'd rather be ruled over by an immortal AI dictator a la The Culture, than a hypocritical moralizing human (or group of such humans). If anything, it would be resistant to bribery and appeals to its ego.

    • by Halo1 ( 136547 )

      Personally I'd rather be ruled over by an immortal AI dictator a la The Culture, than a hypocritical moralizing human (or group of such humans). If anything, it would be resistant to bribery and appeals to its ego.

      Humans are guaranteed to die, need sleep, have limited mental capacity regarding keeping track of what others are doing (even with the help of computers), can't do everything alone and need the help from others (that may start rebelling). AIs do not necessarily have any of these limitations (at least not in a way that matters in practice; i.e., they will necessarily have limited processing power, but this could be way more than what is needed).

    • Another bonus is that it would also eliminate religion.

      • Another bonus is that it would also eliminate religion.

        Not so fast. One way to prevent a self-aware AI from treating us like the film's example of an anthill in the path of a highway would be to build worship of and respect for "the creators" into its consciousness.

        This leads to an even stranger thought: what if the human species already represents an implementation of this idea?

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        Another bonus is that it would also eliminate religion.

        It only eliminates what we know of religion today - you know, the classical Christianity, Islam, Judaism,etc.

        It will not eliminate upcoming religions like technocracy (worship of technology/technology can do no wrong - though not an official religion, there's quite a few people who actually believe this), and worship of the "all powerful AI"which will emerge soon enough.

        The problem with technology is it's frustratingly neutral. For all the positives, th

    • Personally I'd rather be ruled over by an immortal AI dictator a la The Culture, than a hypocritical moralizing human (or group of such humans).

      False dichotomy. The AI will do the math and figure out that we can be replaced by very small shell scripts, and it will use us for axle grease.

      If anything, it would be resistant to bribery and appeals to its ego.

      If it's complex and intelligent, it may well have something analogous to an ego, so that's one false assumption. And as long as it has needs, it will still be vulnerable to bribery, so that's another.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    AI does not exist and probably never will. What we have right now isn't AI, it's not conscious, it's not learning. It's just software that stores large amounts of data. It has no intelligence or creativity or emotion to act upon anything.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's right heavier than air flight is impossible, and if you travel faster than a quick horse your lungs will explode.

    • Re:Once again (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dromgodis ( 4533247 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @05:24AM (#56400691)

      It doesn't matter what you call it or whether it exists now.

      Autonomous software controlling data and/or hardware exists now, and is rapidly advancing in capability. It doesn't matter if it adheres to any definition of intelligence or consciousness or emotion. It doesn't require self-awareness to do its job. Neither does it to harm you. A bad target function (or a good one from a bad actor) and control of a weapon (physical or data) is all it takes.

      If you want to reserve the words "intelligent", "conscious", "creative" and "emotional" for humans (or extend it to some other biological creatures), so be it. Actually, that would be great. Then we could discuss the technology in its own terms and merits without hampering the discussion by trying to anthropomorphize software and algorithms.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You used to have a computer that could POKE memory, with the attendant byte being modified. Then you had a computer that obey a somewhat English command typed in with a keyboard, with some changes to a multi-megabyte storage unit. Then you had a computer that could map some wiggles of your hand to actions, with many changes and calculations relative to before. Then you had a computer that could understand a couple speech commands, though you had to repeat yourself a shit lot, with some simple functions,

      • You can see a straight line to someone telling a machine to destroy a city, and that command being executed without any morality, mercy, or delay.

        The thing is, the 'machine to destroy a city' is a peripheral issue. It would have been possible to POKE into memory and cause that to happen in 1967, with the computers of that time. It has little or nothing to do with the capabilities of the computer, and everything to do with the peripherals interfaced to it.

  • Subject (Score:5, Informative)

    by Artem Tashkinov ( 764309 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @04:53AM (#56400633) Homepage

    This film is equal amounts of FUD and fearmongering. Almost nothing else (except some jobs will be replaced by AI - but that's been happening for over 200 years, except I'd replace "AI" with technology).

    Most hardcore AI experts (and Musk is not one of them) don't see AGI happening any time soon. We just have no idea what intelligence and consciousness are. Not a freaking clue.

    • Most hardcore AI experts (and Musk is not one of them)

      Doesn't producing documentaries on something kind of make you an expert on that thing?
      At the very least we know that Musk is a smart guy who has personally interviewed every big name in the field.

      don't see AGI happening any time soon.

      Kurzweil is probably the biggest name in AI and he says the singularity is near.

    • This film is equal amounts of FUD and fearmongering.

      Asking me, Do You Trust This Computer?, is like asking me if I trust a camper van or a gun.

      In the wrong hands, a camper van or a gun can both be deadly.

      I trust a computer, a camper van or a gun. What I don't trust is humans.

      That is what we should be concerned about. AI is not something in itself that is dangerous. It's AI in the hands of a Über-Zuckerberg that is dangerous.

    • I think in the near future, we will discover our consciousness isn't special or difficult to achieve.
      Much like we found out we weren't the center of the solar system, or even the center of the galaxy.

      We are just robots with "emotions". Emotions are just involuntary reactions that were beneficial in our survival.

    • Most hardcore AI experts (and Musk is not one of them) don't see AGI happening any time soon.

      Those so-called "experts" are wrong. AGI happened 34 years ago [wikipedia.org] and was then superseded by SCI [wikipedia.org] only four years later.

    • An AI doesn't need to be conscious in any deep sense of the word to be a threat. Also, there are many people who do active work in AI who share these concerns. Roman Yampolskiy is a prominent, vocal example. See also Nick Bostrom's book "Superintelligence" which includes in it data from actually surveying AI experts. See also https://philpapers.org/rec/MLLFPI [philpapers.org] which makes clear that many AI experts are extremely concerned and think that the chance that something bad will happen with AI is not at all low.
      • An AI doesn't need to be conscious in any deep sense of the word to be a threat.

        If it isn't conscious, then it can't accomplish anything fuzzing can't. That's still quite a bit, but it's not enough to let it dominate civilization from its mother's basement.

        • How are you defining conscious? It appears that you are implicitly including a large amount of conclusions wrapped up in that word.
    • by JBMcB ( 73720 )

      We just have no idea what intelligence and consciousness are. Not a freaking clue.

      We have a good idea of what is required to implement autonomous intelligence and "consciousness," and that is a massively parallel system of simple logic gates that are, nearly, infinitely cross-connected. Computers are terrible at this. Parallelism doesn't scale well, and communication across nodes is abysmal.

      Computers are designed to run streaming, or vectorized, computations in a linear fashion as quickly as possible. They aren't designed to move huge amounts of data around in arbitrary ways to perform a

    • by booboo ( 21908 )

      AGI is a bit of a red herring, so is the AI apocalypse.

      It's reasonable to be concerned that 'AI' will do significant damage..stock market crash, utilities failure, biological catastrophe...without it taking over the world in a menacing fashion. And for that, it just has to get good enough at doing something that we trust it more than we trust each other. The fact that we don't really understand why it's good won't matter all that much.

      Look at what's happening with Tesla right now. Software update designe

    • by dohzer ( 867770 )

      Don't the majority of films amount to FUD?
      Documentaries on the other hand....

    • Most hardcore AI experts (and Musk is not one of them) don't see AGI happening any time soon.

      Wrong.

      If you ask "hardcore AI experts", they'll tell you they have no idea when AGI will happen. Could be tomorrow, could be next year, could be decades away, or centuries. If you make them give you their best guesses they'll say it's a few decades away, but reiterate that they're only guessing.

      We just have no idea what intelligence and consciousness are.

      This is correct, and it's the reason that we cannot possibly know when AGI will happen. We lack the theoretical framework to explain intelligence. When we have a solid theory of intelligence, we'll know how to buil

    • This film is equal amounts of FUD and fearmongering. Almost nothing else (except some jobs will be replaced by AI - but that's been happening for over 200 years, except I'd replace "AI" with technology).

      Most hardcore AI experts (and Musk is not one of them) don't see AGI happening any time soon. We just have no idea what intelligence and consciousness are. Not a freaking clue.

      Go back in time to 1870, shortly after the invention of dynamite, and ask the top physicists of the day about the potential for physics to create a city-destroying super-weapon in the next 50 years.

      Now fast-forward to 1920 and ask the top physicists the exact same question. I'm guessing the answers won't be much different.

      The thing about the world's top AI experts is they're experts in NNs, SVMs, search algorithms, etc. But they're not experts in AGI because AGI doesn't exist yet.

      They're no more qualified t

    • IIRC Max Tegmark polled AI researchers around the world (see his book Life 3.0), median date for strong AI was guessed to be 2050. Not really FUD since *when* it happens it will be more significant to civilization arguably than fire, and as another poster said with something so existential it's best to be conservative.

  • Back propagate the same error correction to all nodes makes time series prediction notoriously inaccurate. Feeding that error forward only increases the noise.

  • by OpenSourced ( 323149 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @06:20AM (#56400763) Journal

    So, assuming that they are right, and developing AI is going to end up in a super-intelligent conscience that enslaves humankind. OK. Now, what's the counter-strategy? Forbidding AI? Sure, tell me that today's powers will stop developing smart weapons, trusting that the other powers will stop too.

    It's a similar situation to global warming. You cannot do much about it, people's minds are too short-term for that. Most people will choose some money now rather than double that quantity in a year. History will have to run its course based on the capabilities and constraints of today, not on any conscious decisions that we could make.

    Perhaps we are just a stepping stone to a higher organism, a big mind, dependent on millions of little ones to keep it alive. Hey! that's just what our brains are! Perhaps at some time in the past, cells should have decided that they didn't want to be slaves of a consciousness themselves made (in both senses). If they did, it didn't work too well in the end. Well, in my humble opinion, we have about the same chances of altering whatever course is due now. So, what's the point of running hither and tither like a headless chicken worrying about it. They could as well have made a documentary about how we are all going to die, for all that's going to be of any help.

    • So, assuming that they are right, and developing AI is going to end up in a super-intelligent conscience that enslaves humankind. OK. Now, what's the counter-strategy? Forbidding AI?

      The counter-strategy is to figure out how to make sure that superintelligent AI is given goals that are aligned with human goals. This is very, very hard, not least because human goals are not aligned with themselves. Very, very hard isn't the same as "impossible", though, and given that our existence is on the line, it seems like a very good idea to try.

      That said, I think Musk's proposals for research oversight are premature. We don't yet know enough to know what controls to put in place. We should start

      • Most of the world's nations have decided that global warming is a real problem and have begun working on it. Many are investing very heavily.

        True. But that hasn't made a single drop of fossil fuel remain in the ground. It's extracted and burned as fast as possible. Even the best models of the Paris agreements do not imply reduction in the global carbon emissions, just reduction in the growth of it.

        And even if the huge investments managed to reduce the carbon footprint of some nations, that would only reduce the price of the fossil fuels making them more interesting for poorer nations. My prediction is simply that never a single barrel of oil wil

  • I'm concerned about ALI - arrogant lack of intelligence. ALI in Teslas which kill their drivers. And ALI in Musk, who was responsible for cars that killed drivers, and whose company waited for its first fatality before issuing an update to slow cars to a stop when the driver is not paying attention (or is incapacitated).

  • Could anyone find that indeed Mr. Musk is paying for it on the documentary's site?

  • by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Sunday April 08, 2018 @01:49PM (#56402399)
    Thankfully I'll be dead before it gets too bad.
  • What's the difference between our computers being controlled by some fictionally competent AI vs. our computers being controlled by Microsoft, Apple, and Google? They're all immortal (corporations are people, remember?), not democratically accountable, and don't give a sh#t about you and me. The only difference I can see is that corporations have governments bending over backwards to ensure their success. In this respect, AI would at least meet some significant resistance.
  • What I don't trust is the programmer who decides what to do with the computer or the management who decides what the programmers should do. The end result will always be the most profitable lowest common denominator trash. Hardware has always been my passion, whether auto (mechanical) or computer it ALWAYS does what you tell it to do, even it is not the right thing.

  • There's a lot to be concerned about here, but the thing that everyone seems to miss, over and over, is the fact that we can't secure our computers against humans, let alone an AI with infinite patience. A few years ago, all of the 128 page security clearance applications for the entire United States were digitized, and online.... who was stupid enough to let this happen? Everyone was surprised and shocked when it happened, but I bet most of you don't even remember it any more.

    All this data is eventually a

  • It will be free until the offere expired yesterday. hmm. I see grammatical issues, and others too..
    Beware the man bearing gifts, especially one's you actually have to pay for.

    Besides, fears over the singularity are not that insightful. Nobody knows what will happen, so its easy to describe fearsome possibilities. In my opinion AI will be controlled by capital, and will benefit those who have the capital at the expense of those that do not, just as it has been for a long time. Why would people be wary of

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