June 7, 2023

Elon Musk is a busy man operating social media big Twitter, electrical automotive maker Tesla, and house cargo enterprise SpaceX, amongst different ventures. On Tuesday, he weighed in about his firms and extra—from A.I. threats to exploring Mars—on the Wall Avenue Journal‘s CEO Council convention.  

A brand new search rival

In current months, tech firms like Google and Microsoft have been fast to leap on the generative A.I. bandwagon by introducing A.I. chatbots. However in keeping with Musk, the A.I. house wants extra competitors. 

“I believe there ought to be a big third horse within the race,” Musk mentioned. “We’ve obtained OpenAI (the maker of A.I. chatbot ChatGPT) and Microsoft [and] Google DeepMind.” 

Musk hinted that Tesla or Twitter could possibly be new gamers within the A.I. search wars in the event that they mix capabilities with one other firm he launched in April, X.AI.

“OpenAI has a relationship with Microsoft that appears to work pretty properly,” he mentioned, referring to the partnership between the 2 firms by which OpenAI provides its expertise to Microsoft and Microsoft has invested in OpenAI. “So it’s potential that X.AI and Twitter, Tesla would have one thing related.” 

Musk helped cofound OpenAI eight years in the past and left in 2018. He has since criticized OpenAI for switching from being a nonprofit to a for-profit firm. In March, Musk questioned the legality of a nonprofit, to which he donated $100 million, now having a $30 billion market valuation—a metric sometimes used solely by for-profit firms.   

For its half, Tesla’s A.I., utilized by its autos’ Autopilot to navigate and establish obstacles, is among the many most superior, in keeping with the billionaire CEO. If OpenAI and Microsoft had been to construct self-driving vehicles whereas Tesla constructed the “best” massive language mannequin, the underlying algorithm in A.I. chatbots, Tesla would undoubtedly win, Musk claimed. So, if Tesla grew to become a participant within the search wars, as the corporate’s chief hinted, it might make an influence, he argued.  

What if A.I. goes the Terminator means?

Folks speaking about A.I. usually point out fears of doomsday eventualities by which robots take management over people. Musk shares the identical concern. 

“There’s a non-zero probability of it going Terminator,” Musk mentioned, referring to the Hollywood film by which futuristic A.I. tech threatens to trigger colossal harm to the world. “It’s a small probability of annihilating humanity, nevertheless it’s not zero.” 

This isn’t Musk’s first time being vocal concerning the dangers of superior A.I. In March, he was among the many many tech gamers—together with lecturers, technologists, and business specialists—who signed a letter calling for a six-month pause on the event of superior A.I. techniques that will give governments time to create a regulatory system. 

On the convention on Tuesday, Musk mentioned that authorities regulation can be an necessary step ahead. He referred to a potential state-run “insights committee” that might preserve tabs on the A.I. developments of various firms and suggest guidelines to make sure security.

Amongst Musk’s issues: dangerous actors harnessing A.I. to focus on social media. 

“The pen is mightier than the sword—so, one of many first locations the place we now have to watch out about A.I. getting used is in social media to govern public opinion,” Musk mentioned, including that it was this potential drawback that led him to introduce subscriptions to Twitter. 

“It’s 10,000 instances more durable to create an account that has a verified telephone quantity from a reputable provider, that has a bank card, and that pays a small quantity per 30 days,” Musk mentioned.

Mars shouldn’t be for everybody

Musk additionally mentioned his ambitions for SpaceX and his aim of ultimately touring to Mars. However the SpaceX CEO was clear that house journey isn’t for everybody and that candidates would want to satisfy sure standards to go to the Crimson Planet.

“Sanity and stability might be prime necessities for touring to Mars,” Musk mentioned. “You don’t need somebody going nuts and opening the airlock in the midst of the night time.”

He additionally spoke about how the aim of creating “multi-planetary life” and constructing a “self-sustaining metropolis” on Mars would doubtless take for much longer to turn out to be a worthwhile enterprise. 

“SpaceX is a a lot more durable drawback as a result of it’s a a lot longer-term aim and some huge cash misplaced alongside the best way,” Musk mentioned. 

SpaceX’s Starship rocket, which the corporate hopes would ship folks and cargo to Mars, had its first take a look at flight in April, however exploded simply minutes after its launch. 

Twitter and Tesla didn’t instantly return Fortune’s request for remark.

Correction, Could 24, 2023: An earlier model of this text mistakenly talked about that Musk mentioned distant work on the Wall Avenue Journal‘s convention. The story and headline have been up to date to right the error.