Readers beware: Halloween comes early this year. This is a scary column.

It is impossible to overestimate the importance of artificial intelligence. It’s “world altering,” concluded the U.S. National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence last year, since it is an enabling technology akin to Thomas Edison’s description of electricity: “a field of fields ... it holds the secrets which will reorganize the life of the world.”

While the commission also noted that “No comfortable historical reference captures the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on national security,” it’s rapidly becoming clear that those ramifications are far more extensive — and alarming — than experts had imagined. It is unlikely that our awareness of the dangers is keeping pace with the state of AI. Worse, there are no good answers to the threats it poses.