AI will put an end to 'work', Elon Musk tells Rishi Sunak
Tesla, SpaceX, and X (formerly Twitter) chief Elon Musk, during a conversation with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at an AI summit in London, made a prediction that artificial intelligence (AI) could render traditional paid work obsolete, the BBC reported. The 50-minute interview covered various aspects of AI, including the potential for humanoid robots capable of chasing "you anywhere".
Musk and Sunak acknowledged London's prominence as a hub for the AI industry and discussed how AI could revolutionise education.
However, despite their optimism, concerns about the risks posed by AI on employment and the need for regulation were also raised. The warnings about disruption brought by AI and potential job losses were particularly stark, the report said.
AI to alter jobs?
Musk noted that AI's disruptive nature would affect traditional jobs as we know them. He further speculated that as AI continues to evolve, a shift in the jobs landscape could raise questions about how individuals find meaning in life when work is no longer a necessity, it said.
"We are seeing the most disruptive force in history here. There will come a point where no job is needed - you can have a job if you want one for personal satisfaction but AI will do everything. It's both good and bad - one of the challenges in the future will be how do we find meaning in life?" Musk speculated.
AI and Humanoid Robots
On AI, Musk was gung-ho about the possibilities. Adding: "One of my sons has trouble making friends and an AI friend would be great for him." He also noted that in the learning space, AI could be "the best and most patient tutor".
However, Musk expressed concerns about the safety of humanoid robots, emphasising their potential to pose risks, the BBC report added. "There is a safety concern, especially with humanoid robots - at least a car can't chase you into a building or up a tree," he said.
The billionaire also acknowledged the need for regulatory oversight to monitor the development and use of AI technologies in the future. He noted that Tesla has incorporated AI in their autonomous vehicles while voicing apprehensions about the safety aspect of AI.
No new announcements
Sunak and Musk's conversation did not culminate in any significant new announcements about how the UK plans to employ and regulate AI, except for the prime minister's mention of using AI to enhance the government's website.
The conversation took place in front of a select audience from the tech industry in central London's Lancaster House. TV cameras were not allowed, and reporters present were not permitted to ask questions.
Sunak, in an interview with POLITICO, had , given the latter's long-standing emphasis on the need for AI regulation. The British PM has argued that Musk’s dual perspective on AI's risks and benefits adds valuable insight to the conversation, leveraging Musk's extensive experience in the AI sector.
Earlier in the day, Musk took to X to post criticism of world leaders on their outlook towards AI, leading many to speculate he would skip the meet with Sunak. But the event went through.
The tech mogul had posted a cartoon showing caricatures of China, the European Union, the UK, and the US speaking "We declare that AI poses a potentially catastrophic risk to humankind", as opposed to thinking "And I cannot wait to develop it first".