Elon Musk has claimed that artificial intelligence (AI) could eventually remove the need for anyone to have a job.
The prediction came during an hour-long conversation with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak following the end of the world’s first AI Safety Summit on Thursday (2 November).
Over 100 representatives from academia, business and politics, gathered at the iconic Bletchley Park to discuss how the world could mitigate some of the harshest risks the emerging tech poses to society.
The landmark summit focused on “Frontier AI”, described by the UK government as AI models that “can perform a wide variety of tasks and exceed the capabilities present in today’s most advanced models.”
Frontier AI could be used by terrorists to aid in the creation bioweapons, make deep fakes indistinguishable and be used for child sexual abuse, a UK government report released alongside the Summit stated.
The billionaire Tesla, Space X and X owner, as well as the newly formed xAI startup, carried on the doom-talk after the Summit had finished claiming that “there will come a point where no job is needed”.
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“You can have a job if you wanted to have a job for personal satisfaction. But the AI would be able to do everything,” Musk said.
Adding: “I don’t know if that makes people comfortable or uncomfortable.”
The billionaire compared AI, which he said has the potential to be the “most disruptive force in history”, to a “magic genie”.
“If you wish for a magic genie, that gives you any wish you want, and there’s no limit. You don’t have those three wish limits nonsense, it’s both good and bad,” he said, “one of the challenges in the future will be how do we find meaning in life.”
Sunak tried to stress the importance of jobs, responding to Musk: “I’m someone who believes work gives you meaning”.
The PM questioned where people would get “that drive, that purpose” if no jobs were left to AI. Sunak urged people to look at the emerging technology as a “co-pilot” and said a “world-class education” system would be the way to get people ready for adoption.
Sunak’s fireside conversation with Musk, which follows a pretty doom-filled summit, has struck concern in some.
“The talk about AI and jobs during Rishi Sunak and Elon Musk’s conversation last night is concerning,” Michael Queenan, CEO and co-founder of Nephos Technologies, told Verdict.
“Those aspirations are so far away from what we should be looking at within society, that to say them out loud should be scary, not endorsed by sitting next to the Prime Minister of the UK, Queenan said.
Beatriz Valle, senior analyst at research company GlobalData, told Verdict that she disagrees with Musk’s comments on AI removing the need for jobs.
“As we speak, businesses are working hard at integrating generative AI into their business workflows, with very good results, but they still need to have a human to oversee this,” Valle said.
Valle said that she saw the two-day UK AI Safety Summit as more of a PR exercise.
“In my view, the UK AI Safety Summit has been mainly symbolic, although no doubt a good chance for AI luminaries to get together,” Valle said, questioning why the UK put on the Summit before drafting legislation.
“The UK is yet to make any advancements in terms of regulations, whereas the EU is about to pass the world’s first laws on AI, after spending the last four years developing the legislation,” Valle said.