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Tesla boss Elon Musk says AI will make work redundant

  • In a conversation with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, tech billionaire Elon Musk said AI has the potential to become “the most disruptive force in history”.
  • Musk has repeatedly warned of the threats AI poses to humanity, most recently urging a moratorium on the development of AI more advanced than OpenAI’s GPT-4.

Tesla Inc. at the AI ​​Security Summit 2023 at Bletchley Park in Bletchley, UK on Wednesday, November 1, 2023. CEO Elon Musk.

Chris J. Radcliffe | Bloomberg | Good pictures

LONDON — Elon Musk thinks artificial intelligence will eventually put everyone out of work.

The billionaire tech leader, who owns Tesla, SpaceX, X, the company formerly known as Twitter and newly formed AI startup xAI, said late Thursday that AI will become “the most disruptive force in history.”

“For the first time we’ll have something smarter than the smartest human,” Musk said at an event at Lancaster House, the official home of the UK government.

“It’s hard to say exactly what that moment will be, but there will be a point where no work is needed,” Musk continued, speaking with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. “If you want to get a job for personal satisfaction you can get a job. But AI can do everything.”

“I don’t know if that makes people comfortable or uncomfortable,” Musk joked, as the audience laughed.

“If you want a magic genie, it gives you any wish, and no limit. You don’t have that three wish limit nonsense, it’s good and bad. One of the challenges in the future is how we find meaning in life.”

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Musk, who once said it was more dangerous than nuclear weapons, has repeatedly warned of the threats AI poses to humanity. He was one of several tech leaders who urged a pause in the development of AI beyond OpenAI’s GPT-4 software in a widely cited open letter published earlier this year.

Other tech leaders, including Palantir’s boss Alex Karp, disagree. Speaking to BBC Radio in June, Karp said he thought “a lot of people asking for a pause are asking for a pause because there’s no product.”

Musk’s comments on Thursday follow the conclusion of a major summit in England’s Bletchley Park, where world leaders agreed to a global statement on AI that found common ground on the risks the technology poses to humanity.

Technologists and political leaders used the summit to warn of existential threats posed by AI, focusing on some of the possible doomsday scenarios that could be created with the discovery of a hypothetical superintelligence.

At the summit, the US and China, two nations that clash so tensely over the technology, agreed to find a global consensus on how to tackle some of the more complex questions surrounding AI, how to make it safe and how to regulate it.

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