The strongman Russian President spoke to a crowd of students about the prospect of an army of trained killers incapable of feeling “pain or fear” much like the characters in 1992 action movie Universal Soldier.
Putin suggested that world leaders should agree on strict regulation to prevent the creation of mass-killing soldiers who feel no pain or fear.
A man has the opportunity to get into the genetic code created by either nature, or as religious people would say, by the God.
All kinds of practical consequences may follow. One may imagine that a man can create a man not only theoretically but also practically.
He can be a genius mathematician, a brilliant musician, or a soldier, a man who can fight without fear, compassion, regret, or pain.
As you understand, humanity can enter, and most likely it will in the near future, a very difficult and very responsible period of its existence.
What I have just described might be worse than a nuclear bomb.
Putin called on world leaders to establish guidelines to limit genetic manipulation, saying
When we do something, whatever we do, I want to reiterate it again—we must never forget about the ethical foundations of our work.
While the Russian strongman normally presents a cold, calculating image, it seems that inside he lives in fear of the future being some sort of science fiction dystopia.
Last month, while speaking with Arkady Volozh, CEO of internet firm Yandex, Putin said he feared technology would “eat us.”
He explained that he did not mean robots would consume human flesh, but that humans would be outstripped by robots whose artificial intelligence and mechanical bodies would outperform humans in every respect.
Putin used the example of earth-moving machinery, pointing out that steam shovels were better at digging than people.
Volozh said he replied, “But we don’t get eaten by excavators.”
Putin said, “They don’t think,” implying that that kind of physical power coupled with independent intellect might well turn on humans.
According to government-funded TV station RT, Putin raised the topic of AI with students across Russia via a satellite link on Sept. 1, the first day of the school year.
He told them:
Artificial intelligence is the future, not only for Russia, but for all humankind. It comes with colossal opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to predict. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.
If we become leaders in this area, we will share this know-how with the entire world, the same way we share our nuclear technologies today.
In response to this statement, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: