'Immortal dictator' could take over the Earth, warns Elon Musk

Humanity faces being enslaved by an "immortal dictator" unless artificial intelligence research is regulated, Elon Musk has warned.

The SpaceX and Tesla founder's warning comes in a new documentary, Do You Trust This Computer?, directed by Chris Paine.

"We are rapidly headed toward digital superintelligence that far exceeds any human, I think it's pretty obvious," the billionaire explains.

"If one company or a small group of people manages to develop godlike digital super-intelligence, they could take over the world."

And without a body and brain that will die of old age, stopping this "godlike digital super-intelligence" could be impossible.

"At least when there's an evil dictator, that human is going to die," Mr Musk says. "But for an AI there would be no death. It would live forever, and then you'd have an immortal dictator, from which we could never escape."

Mr Musk has warned of the threat of artificial intelligence before. In September last year he said it might result in World War III.

The late Stephen Hawking also feared a Terminator scenario, saying it would "take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate" and humans wouldn't be able to keep up.

Do You Trust This Computer? can be viewed for free this weekend online.