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Elon Musk Calls AI The Most Disruptive Force In History

In an interview with UK prime minister Rishi Sunak, Musk says that, ‘We will have for the first time something that is smarter than the smartest human’ 

After the AI Safety Summit on Wednesday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk sat down with UK prime minister Rishi Sunak in a live discussion on artificial intelligence on Musk’s X platform (formerly Twitter). During their conversation, Musk says AI is, “The most disruptive force in history” and eventually, “There will come a point where no job is needed”.

When asked about the effect of AI on jobs, Musk, who Sunak referred to as a, “Brilliant innovator and technologist,” said to the prime minister, “I believe we are witnessing the most disruptive force in history.

“We will have for the first time something that is smarter than the smartest human. There will come a point where no job is needed,” said Musk. Adding that, “You can have a job if you want to have a job for personal satisfaction but the AI can do everything.”

One of the biggest fears of AI is that humans end up relying on it for just about everything and people end up losing their sense of purpose. Elon touches on that possibility saying, “One of the challenges in the future will be how do we find meaning in life. Everyone will have access to this magic genie… it will be the best tutor, the most patient tutor.”

The tech billionaire also joked that although the ‘genie’ can grant your wishes, the fairy tales didn’t always end well. Adding that the future will be an, “Age of abundance” with AI and there will be, “Univeral high income as opposed to a universal basic income.” 

Regulating artificial intelligence

The Tesla and SpaceX owner went on to express his support for governments coming together to regulate the technology during the summit. “I think that it is good for governments to play a role when public safety is at risk,” Musk said.

He added that there were concerns in Silicon Valley that regulating AI could, “Crush innovation and slow things down and be annoying – and it is”. Similarly, A16z co-founder and billionaire Marc Andreessen recently published a manifesto where he supports the non-stop advancements of technology, adding that any attempts to slow it down could lead to unnecessary deaths, calling it, “A form of murder.”

However, Musk believes that regulation and having laws in place is a good thing. “We’ve learned over the years that having a referee is good. I think that’s the right way to think about it – for the government to be a referee.”

“I think there might be at times too much optimism about tech and I say that as a technologist.” Musk went on to describe the rapid growth of AI as, “Faster than any technology I’ve seen in history” and that, “Government isn’t used to moving at that speed”.

A global threat requires global unification

During the conversation, Musk appreciated China’s decision to participate in the AI Safety Summit and is among the Bletchley Declaration. “If China are not on board for AI safety it’s somewhat of a moot operation,” Musk said. “But actually China is going to participate in AI safety and thank you for inviting them.

“When I was in China this year, my main discussion was AI safety… this is really something they should care about. Having them here was essential,” Musk added. “if they’re not participants it’s pointless,” because without the country’s buy-in to safety commitments, “They would just jump into the lead and exceed us all.”

Before the Summit, Musk took to X to post a cartoon that appeared to show the UK, US, Europe and China verbalising the risks of AI to humankind but discreetly thinking about their desire to develop the technology first.

The former OpenAI co-founder also expressed his belief that it’s crucial to have some form of ‘off switch’ for AI technologies and emphasised the need to be, “Quite concerned” about this. He wondered, “What if one day they get a software update and they’re not so friendly anymore?” 

Nevertheless, the Tesla man believes that AI would be, “A force for good” and that the technology could become, “Great friends” to users like his son who struggled to make friends in real life. 

Yoshua Bengio, dubbed one of the AI godfathers is poised to head a new report on the present state of AI science to establish a common comprehension of the potential risks. Also, South Korea and France are set to hold further AI Summits next year. 

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He's steadily writing his way to the sharp end of journalism and enjoys staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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