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December 14, 2023
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Vinod Khosla: risks loom but AI fear isn’t top of list.

  • Vinod Khosla, legendary investor and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, has underscored the risk posed by China in technology, terming it as significantly greater than that of artificial intelligence (AI).
  • Khosla, speaking at Fortune Brainstorm AI 2023, expressed concern about the possible interference of Chinese bots in US elections through persuasive AI.
  • The investor also mentioned his support for the Biden administration’s move to cut off exports of advanced chips and AI software to China.
  • He expressed that while the risk of AI becoming sentient and causing harm does exist, it’s as likely as an asteroid destroying our planet.

Vinod Khosla, the renowned investor who was instrumental in the founding of Sun Microsystems, recently voiced his concerns about China at Fortune Brainstorm AI 2023. He believes that the risk associated with China, in the sphere of technology, is significantly more serious than that from artificial intelligence. According to Khosla, China’s technological advancements pose a considerable threat, particularly given the potential for bots to manipulate US elections.

Speaking to tech and venture executives, Khosla stated: “But by far—orders of magnitude—the higher risk to worry about is China, not sentient AI killing us”. He went on to suggest that there could potentially be over 100 million Chinese bots equipped with persuasive AI, interacting with US voters in the run-up to the next year’s election. According to him, the risk of such bots influencing the election outcome stands at around 95%.

When asked about his stance on the Biden administration’s decision to restrict the export of high-tech chips and AI software to China, Khosla replied: “Absolutely.” He compared the potential risks of AI technology to nuclear and biotechnology, acknowledging that they could be used either for good or bad purposes.

In the ongoing debate over AI, Khosla has declared his stance. While recognizing the risk of AI becoming sentient and causing harm, he compared it to the possibility of an asteroid hitting the Earth and causing mass destruction. He suggested that the media has inflated the risks associated with AI simply because it has a “sci-fi” appeal.

Besides his views on China’s technological threat and AI risks, Khosla also commented on recent shake-up at OpenAI. He described concerns about the board changes as a result of a bunch of misinformed board members not making rational decisions and declared that the startup is in a better position today than a month ago.

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