Billionaire Elon Musk, chief executive officer of Tesla Motors Inc., listens during the StartmeupHK Venture Forum in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Tesla is looking for a Chinese production partner but is "still trying to figure that out," Musk said. Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg via Getty Images
September 04, 2017 01:08 PM

Elon Musk spent his Labor Day morning thinking (and tweeting) about the potential cause of the next major global conflict.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO warned in a series of tweets on Monday that artificial intelligence, or AI, would be the likely cause of World War III, as countries ramp up competition over the technology.

Musk has frequently vocalized his fears about the risks of AI, saying in July that it is “the greatest risk we face as a civilization.” At the time, Musk called for government intervention to oversee AI development.

Musk’s comments on Monday came after Russian President Vladimir Putin said that whichever country becomes the leader in the AI sphere “will become the ruler of the world.”

World War III, Musk said, could be sparked by AI in a kind of WarGames scenario. “[War] may be initiated not by the country leaders, but one of the AIs, if it decides that a preemptive strike is most probable path to victory,” Musk said.

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