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Musk says Unabomber ‘might not be wrong’ that tech is bad


Elon Musk said on Saturday that the Unabomber — despite his twisted, homicidal rampage that killed three people and injured two dozen more — “might not be wrong” in his belief that technology is detrimental to society.

The billionaire tweeted the comment the same day the Unabomber, whose real name was Ted Kaczynski, died in his jail cell aged 81 after nearly three decades in prison.

Starting in 1978, Kaczynski waged a 17-year, anti-tech campaign by constructing 16 homemade bombs and mailing them to people he believed were destroying the environment and creating a more technically advanced society.

The explosives made Kaczynski the most prolific bomber in American history.

While living as a hermit in a Montana cabin, making bombs and evading authorities for 20 years, Kaczynski penned a 35,000-word manifesto titled “Industrial Society and Its Future,” a scathing writeup against technology and leftist views.

In it, the Harvard-educated mathematics professor warned the world about how rapidly expanding technology would threaten and possibly ruin humans.


Elon Musk said that the Unabomber “might not be wrong” in his belief that technology is detrimental to society, and could one day become so technologically advanced that it turns on humans.
via REUTERS

“The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race,” the work, better known as “The Unabomber Manifesto,” infamously begins.

When author Ashley St. Clair tweeted the quote alongside news of Kaczynski’s death on Saturday, Musk replied with: “He might not be wrong.”

The following day, Musk tweeted a meme showing a grim reaper at a claw machine, suggesting Kaczynski did not die by suicide in a prison medical center, as sources told the Associated Press.

Kaczynski, who was suffering from late-stage cancer, was transferred to a federal medical center in North Carolina in 2021 to get care for his health issues.

He had previously been serving four life sentences plus 30 years at a maximum-security facility in Colorado.

To some, Kaczynski was a folk hero for his pro-Luddite views, which he wrote about in his manifesto, arguing that “if our society had no social problems at all, the leftists would have to INVENT problems in order to provide themselves with an excuse for making a fuss.”

In the work — which was published as an eight-page Washington Post spread and ultimately led to his arrest — Kaczynski also claimed that technological advancements have “destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world.”

While Musk may agree with Kaczynski’s views on some level, he’s also arguably the face of some of today’s biggest tech advancements.

Just last month Musk’s brain-implant company Neuralink received the Food and Drug Administration’s approval to launch the first-in-human clinical study.

Musk claims the chip will help paralyzed people walk again and cure other neurological ailments, including blindness.

He also recently said during the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit that there is a “non-zero chance” that rogue advanced artificial intelligence could annihilate humanity.

Musk also raised the possibility that an advanced AI system could decide to place humanity “under strict controls.”


Ted Kaczynski died in his jail cell aged 81 on Saturday. While his cause of death has yet to be announced, sources told the Associated Press that he died by suicide.
Ted Kaczynski died in his jail cell aged 81 on Saturday. While his cause of death has yet to be announced, sources told the Associated Press that he died by suicide.
AP

Musk also said that AI could turn on humans.

For example, it could decide to seize “all the computing systems and weapons systems of Earth and effectively being like some sort of ‘uber-nanny.’” he said during the CEO Council Summit.

Kaczynski shared a similar sentiment in his manifesto. He claimed technological advancements would strip humans of their freedom because “the regulation of our lives by large organizations is necessary for the functioning of industrial-technological society. The result is a sense of powerlessness on the part of the average person.”

Meanwhile, Musk called for a six-month pause in further developing AI-backed models like ChatGPT until regulators developed and implemented safety protocols back in April.



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