Imagine your least-favorite world leader. (Take as much time as you need.)
Now, imagine if that person wasn't a human, but a network of millions of computers around the world. This digi-dictator has instant access to every scrap of recorded information about every person who's ever lived. It can make millions of calculations in a fraction of a second, controls the world's economy and weapons systems with godlike autonomy and — scariest of all — can never, ever die.
This unkillable digital dictator, according to Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, is one of the darker scenarios awaiting humankind's future if artificial-intelligence research continues without serious regulation. [Super-Intelligent Machines: 7 Robotic Futures]As in "God?" An immortal, highly intelligent AI might certainly appear God-like to those lesser endowed beings. To read more, click here.