"Those companies, in many ways, have lost control," McNamee said. "And that a lot of really difficult, bad things are going on in terms of addiction, in terms of what happens in our election and Brexit. You look at these things, and you say to yourself, 'It's really time for the country to step back and have a conversation about: What is the appropriate role of technology? What are the limits to what we're going to allow people to do? And how are we going to make sure that society — jobs, people and livelihoods — are protected?'"
McNamee agrees with Musk and other scientists that it will be difficult to relegate robots to shooting only at other robots. McNamee also urged Musk and other technology leaders to extend their activism to technologies that are doing harm "here and now." Facebook, Tesla and Google were not immediately available to comment on McNamee's comments.
"We have in this country had, at least for the last 10 or 15 years, an almost irrational belief that technology always winds up doing good," McNamee said. "And the reality is, it's a lot easier to do bad things with technology than it is to do good. To do good takes tremendous discipline and effort over long periods of time. And you can do bad more or less overnight."