Skip to main content

Linux founder: No need to fear AI

Linux founder Linus Torvalds doesn’t understand the fear Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Professor Stephen Hawking and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak share about artificial intelligence.

Musk said creating artificial intelligence would be equal to “summoning a demon”, and has even donated millions to protect humans from the impending doom.

Torvalds, on the other hand, describes such fears as “bad” science fiction, during a Q&A session with Slashdot (opens in new tab) users.

“We’ll get AI, and it will almost certainly be through something very much like recurrent neural networks,” he said in response to one user’s question. “And the thing is, since that kind of AI will need training, it won’t be ‘reliable’ in the traditional computer sense. It’s not the old rule-based prolog days, when people thought they’d *understand* what the actual decisions were in an AI.

“And that all makes it very interesting, of course, but it also makes it hard to productise. Which will very much limit where you’ll actually find those neural networks, and what kinds of network sizes and inputs and outputs they’ll have.

“So I’d expect just more of (and much fancier) rather targeted AI, rather than anything human-like at all. Language recognition, pattern recognition, things like that. I just don’t see the situation where you suddenly have some existential crisis because your dishwasher is starting to discuss Sartre with you.

“The whole ‘Singularity’ kind of event? Yeah, it’s science fiction, and not very good Sci-Fi at that, in my opinion. Unending exponential growth? What drugs are those people on? I mean, really.”

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.