By Dennis Kneale 5:26 pm PST

Elon Musk is the Edison of our age, and when Elon Musk is afraid of artificial intelligence, the rest of us should heed the great line from actress Geena Davis, long ago, in the remake of the horror film “The Fly.”

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

AI is not yet ready for prime time, yet it is moving with alarming speed into the economy, business, websites, online search and the rest of our lives. Elon Musk and over a thousand other scientists recently called on the AI industry to halt any advances for six months, until safety guardrails can be erected.

Otherwise, it is plausible that AI might get so smart it could take over our computer networks, as Musk said in a long interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News earlier this week. Musk says the government should set up a kill switch capable of shutting down all power and connectivity to the handful of massive server sites that hold most of the world’s AI power.

It is alarming that this quirky, brilliant billionaire is even thinking out loud about such measures. Musk has fretted about the risks of AI for years now — especially in how tech companies and their leaders are failing to address the issue.

In 2015, he had a falling out over this with his friend Larry Page, co-founder of Google. They have yet to reconcile. By then, Google had hired two-thirds of the world’s greatest AI talent, and Musk worried it would dominate the next tech revolution.

Musk’s concerns grew, as he told Tucker Carlson, after his “former friend” Larry Page told Musk he had no worries about AI’s becoming too powerful, and that Page wanted to create a “digital god.” Musk says he argued it was important to ensure that humans had total control over AI, and Page then called him “a specist” — a human who is racist against other species.

So, in 2015, Musk joined with PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn, angel investor Sam Altman and others to form OpenAI, a nonprofit lab that gave us the ChatGPT of today. OpenAI would open-source all of its code so the rest of the world could amend it and improve on it.

But Musk parted ways with OpenAI in 2018, and Microsoft invested $1 billion in the company in 2019, plus $2 billion more in the next few years. Last year, Microsoft committed $10 billion more at a $29 billion valuation for the AI shop.

Suddenly, OpenAI was mainly a for-profit under de facto Microsoft control. To Elon Musk, this risks creating a Google-Microsoft duopoly in AI, just as Apple and Google’s Android have a duopoly in smartphone app stores and operating systems.

Now Elon Musk is the only thing standing between us and Big Tech domination of the next technology revolution, as I noted on the latest episode of my podcast, “What’s Bugging Me” on @Ricochet. This week, he incorporated a new company called X.AI, aimed at countering Google and Microsoft and ensuring a safer and more balanced path for AI.

He also has reincorporated Twitter’s holding company and renamed it X Corp., as I said in my op ed on Thursday in The Wall Street Journal (nonsubscribers can read it here, subscribers here). This is a reflection of his ambitions to transform Twitter from a media platform into the “everything app,” letting users transact all kinds of business, shopping, banking, and investing on the platform; AI agents will likely play an important role in this.

Elon calls for regulation of the artificial intelligence industry, and he wants the industry itself to set up an overview commission to report on risks and protective measures and make recommendations to the government. The problem is government bureaucrats and elected politicians lack the chops to handle this, and they respond only belatedly, after a crisis erupts.

“Regulations are really only put into effect after something terrible has happened,” as Musk told the Fox anchor. “If that is the case with AI,” he said, “it may be too late to actually put the regulations in place. The AI may be in control at that point.”

Thank you for the warning, Elon.

Original publication: NEWMAX