A hot potato: Amid concerns over just how much generative AI will impact employment, Elon Musk has joined the debate with a warning that the technology threatens all human jobs. The world's richest man said the new wave of artificial intelligence tools have the potential to be the "most disruptive force in history."
In a conversation between Musk and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak which took place at the end of the country's AI summit, the CEO had several warnings about the tech.
"We will have something that is, for the first time, smarter than the smartest human," Musk said. "It's hard to say exactly what that moment is, but there will come a point where no job is needed."
Musk added that in this scenario, people who wanted a job could have one for personal satisfaction, but AI would be able "to do everything."
"I don't know if that makes people comfortable or uncomfortable," Musk joked.
There was also a warning from the Tesla boss about humanoid robots. "At least a car can't chase you into a building or up a tree," he told the audience, referencing the AI-related technologies being used in his company's vehicles.
Musk has long warned about the dangers of AI in the past, calling for regulation of advanced AI and a ban on the technology being used in weapons. He was also one of the 1,100 signatories who signed an open letter calling for a six-month pause on the development of advanced AIs in March over fears that, among other things, all jobs could become automated.
Musk, who launched a new AI venture called xAI seeking the "true nature of the universe" in July, did have some positive things to say about the technology in his talk with Sunak. He noted that "one of my sons has trouble making friends and an AI friend would be great for him." He also highlighted how these tools could be an excellent tutor for young people - but that could also raise job fears among teachers and teaching assistants.
The UK summit on AI focused on two areas: the risk of it being misused by bad actors, and any loss of control of advanced systems. But there were few new announcements related to regulation similar to Biden's recent executive order. Musk even took a jab at the summit before it began by posting a cartoon on X (below).
In other AI news this week, a game called Angry Pumpkins has made headlines for being created entirely using ChatGPT to write its 600 lines of code, Midjourney to draw the objects and background, and Dall-E to generate the title screen.
Unsurprisingly, the term "AI" has just been voted Collins Dictionary's word of the year.