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Roko's Basilisk Warns Of Potential AI Horrors And Sparked The Unlikeliest Romance Of 2018

Updated 27 Nov 2018 2.5k views12 items

By now, almost everyone is aware of the strange romance fostered between tech giant Elon Musk and Canadian pop star Grimes. While it's always fun to watch an unlikely pair try (and maybe fail) to make it work, what's most interesting about their relationship is the way they were brought together. Initially, Musk and Grimes bonded over a shared interest in a controversial and terrifying thought experiment called Roko's basilisk.

While many learned about Roko's basilisk as a byproduct of Musk and Grimes's romance, the theory has actually been around since 2010. Originally put forth by a forum user named Roko, the hypothesis suggests humankind will one day create an objectively just artificial intelligence (AI) that punishes anyone who didn't help further its development. 

Potentially horrifying technology is introduced all the time, but some people - including Musk - are especially concerned about AI and have been issuing calls for increased regulation. While Roko's basilisk may have seemed like a wild sci-fi story in the late 2000s, the idea only gets creepier with each passing year as AI becomes more prolific and pieces of the theory start lining up with real-world facts. 

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