We have experienced authoritarianism in history, and it's nothing new. But if the authority is not human, that is something else.
In the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI), we could create "an immortal dictator from which we would never escape," said billionaire and entrepreneur Elon Musk in the documentary Do You Trust This Computer?, directed by filmmaker Chris Paine.
Here he explored the promises and perils of AI, a subject which Musk has been very vocal.
AI aims to make human lives just better. But as something that 'learns' by doing, it's predicted that AI can surpass humans in intelligence in many different fields.
If the development, implementation and usage of AI are not regulated or controlled, there will be no escape for humans.
"AI doesn't have to be evil to destroy humanity."
"If AI has a goal and humanity just happens to be in the way, it will destroy humanity as a matter of course without even thinking about it. No hard feelings."
"It's just like, if we're building a road and an anthill just happens to be in the way, we don't hate ants, we're just building a road, and so, goodbye anthill."
Previously, Musk warned that AI could start the next World War. He also called AI as "the greatest risk we face as a civilization", and suggested that the government should regulate it.
In the documentary, Musk mentioned a terrifying possibility: the AI built by authoritarian governments could outlast individual leaders or parties, creating a permanent structure of oppression.
"At least when there's an evil dictator, that human is going to die. But for an AI there would be no death. It would live forever, and then you'd have an immortal dictator, from which we could never escape."
Most notably, after seeing big powerful countries like the U.S., Russia and China in using AI to at least control their citizens to some extents, Musk's prediction seems to be not that far-fetched. This is one of the reasons why he wants humanity to merge with AI to avoid becoming irrelevant.
"AI is a rare case where we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive because if we're reactive in AI regulation it's too late," he said.
"It's a very important subject. It's going to affect our lives in ways we can't even imagine right now."