Deadly robots that can even climb trees, AI friends, and a future where people might not have to work were some of the topics when Rishi Sunak chatted with Elon Musk.
The prime minister had a unique “in conversation” event with the billionaire X and Tesla owner at the end of a week dedicated to talking about artificial intelligence.
During their friendly and broad-ranging talk, Mr. Musk mostly led the conversation while Mr. Sunak asked the questions.
They discussed how London is a major center for the AI industry and how AI could change the way we learn things.
But the conversation also touched on some serious concerns. Mr. Sunak acknowledged that many people worry about losing their jobs to automation, and both agreed that there should be someone like a “referee” to keep an eye on the super-computers of the future.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 2, 2023
Elon Musk’s AI Safety Concerns
Tech investor and inventor, Mr. Musk, has invested in AI companies and used AI in his self-driving Tesla cars. However, he’s also worried that AI could be a danger to society and humanity.
He told the audience, “There is a safety concern, especially with robots that look like humans. A car can’t chase you into a building or up a tree.”
Mr. Sunak, who wants more investment in the UK’s growing tech industry, jokingly replied, “You’re not making this sound very reassuring.”
It’s not something you see every day – the prime minister interviewing a businessman like this. But Mr. Sunak was happy to chat with his famous guest.
Special Guests at Lancaster House in central London
If it seemed like Mr. Sunak was having a good time, it’s no surprise. He used to live in California, which is where Silicon Valley is, and he’s known for his love of technology.
The event took place in a big hall, and Mr. Musk’s voice was hard to hear as he talked about the future. He didn’t make any unexpected comments that might have caused problems for the government.
This event happened in front of special guests from the tech industry, in a fancy place called Lancaster House in central London.
Something unusual about this event was that they didn’t let TV cameras in. Instead, Downing Street recorded the event and shared the video. Some reporters were there, but they couldn’t ask questions.
Musk and Sunak on AI’s Benefits
The two of them talked about how AI could be helpful. Mr. Musk mentioned, “One of my sons has trouble making friends, and an AI friend would be great for him.”
They both agreed that AI could be a fantastic way for young people to learn, like having the best and most patient tutor.
But they also talked about the potential problems AI could create for traditional jobs.
Musk’s Vision: AI and Employment
Mr. Musk said, “We are facing a very powerful force here. There might be a time when no one needs a job – you can work for personal satisfaction, but AI will do everything.”
He added that it’s both good and bad, and in the future, we’ll have to figure out how to find meaning in life when jobs are not as important.
Government and AI’s Website Potential
Amid all the deep thinking, there weren’t many new plans revealed about how AI will be used and controlled in the UK. The prime minister did mention that AI could help make the government’s website better.
Mr. Musk was one of the important guests at this week’s gathering, but for a moment, it seemed like the event with Mr. Sunak might get less attention.
Just before it was supposed to start, Mr. Musk used his own platform, X (previously known as Twitter), to criticize the summit.
Playful Cartoon Amid Sunak-Musk Discussion
While Mr. Sunak was wrapping up his last talk at Bletchley Park, Mr. Musk shared a funny cartoon. It showed cartoon versions of the UK, European Union, China, and the US. In their speech bubbles, they said, “We say AI is really dangerous for humanity.” But in their thoughts, they were thinking, “And I can’t wait to make it even better.”
In the end, the two of them seemed comfortable together, and Mr. Sunak, in particular, appeared to be in his element – he might have been a bit starstruck by the controversial billionaire, whom he praised as a “brilliant innovator and technologist.”
From the regular folks in the audience behind the important tech figures, it wasn’t clear who held more power in this pair.
Was it Mr. Sunak, who asked questions to the famous tech billionaire? Or was it Mr. Musk, who did most of the talking?
Either way, both men want to have a say in what the future of AI has in store for all of us.