New York –
Elon Musk spoke with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday in a conversation that focused on the dangers and opportunities of artificial intelligence, capping the first UK AI Security Summit.
“AI will most likely be a force for good,” Musk said. “But the probability of things going wrong is not zero percent.”
The two men spoke in an interview-style conversation from a stage at Lancaster House, a government venue in central London often used for diplomatic purposes, before the conversation was opened to questions from journalists. Musk was present throughout the two-day event held primarily at Bletchley Park, the headquarters of the Allied Forces’ codebreaking program during World War II, alongside US Vice President Kamala Harris , OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, and other political figures and global technology leaders. .
“I’m happy to see at this point that people are taking AI seriously,” Musk told Sunak. “Thank you for this summit. I think it will go down in history as very important.
On the first day of the event, more than 25 countries and the European Union signed the Bletchley Declaration, agreeing to work together to create a united approach to overseeing efforts to deploy AI technology in a “human-centered, trustworthy and responsible” way. highlighting the “potential for serious, even catastrophic harm,” which concerns many tech executives.
Chinese officials were also present at the event, according to Reuters.
MUSC AND THE WORLD LEADERS
Musk’s conversation with Sunak is one of several discussions with world leaders that the SpaceX and Tesla CEO has participated in over the past few months. Musk met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September, weeks before the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas. Netanyahu met with Musk to discuss artificial intelligence and anti-Semitism on the Musk-owned social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, at a time when Musk was at war with the Anti-Defamation League .
Musk has also spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron several times over the past year. Other big names who have recently carved out time for Musk in their schedules include Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in June, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in September.
At Thursday’s event, Musk noted that if AI powerhouses such as the United States and the United Kingdom “align on AI safety, that’s a good thing.” And he suggested that other world powers, such as China, should also remain involved in the discussions.
He compared AI to a magical genie and noted that fairy tales with wish-granting magical genies “don’t end well” and inspire people to “be careful what you wish for.”
Musk has increasingly become a fixture in international affairs, making headlines not only for his meetings with heads of state but also for providing – or not providing – SpaceX’s Starlink satellite services in war-torn regions.
STARLINK IN WARZONES
The billionaire received backlash this week for pledging to provide Starlink satellite service to humanitarian organizations in Gaza as the besieged strip struggles to connect to the internet. Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that Hamas “will use it for terrorist activities.”
“Perhaps Musk would be willing to condition this on the release of our abducted babies, sons, daughters and elderly people. All! Until then, my office will cut all ties with starlink,” Karhi posted.
Musk made the announcement on X, which he owns, after Democratic U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said “cutting off all communication with a population of 2.2 million is unacceptable.”
“Starlink will support connectivity with internationally recognized humanitarian organizations in Gaza,” Musk said in a message responding to Ocasio-Cortez.
In Walter Isaacson’s new biography of the eccentric billionaire titled “Elon Musk,” it was revealed that Musk secretly ordered his engineers not to activate his company’s Starlink satellite communications network near the Crimean coast. last year to disrupt a Ukrainian sneak attack on the Russian navy. fleet. CNN received the excerpt, which has since been edited, according to a version now published by the Washington Post.
Musk’s decision, which prompted Ukrainian officials to beg him to turn on the satellites, was driven by acute fear that Russia would respond to a Ukrainian attack on Crimea with nuclear weapons, a fear reinforced by conversations from Musk with senior Russian officials, according to Isaacson. .
SUNAK AI SUMMIT
The billionaire’s presence at the UK summit draws increased media attention to the event which is key to Sunak’s hopes for global AI regulation.
“Here we are witnessing the most disruptive force in history,” Musk said during the meeting. Sunak and Musk discussed how digital superintelligence could affect the public and require regulation in the same way that industries such as aviation and automobiles require regulation.
“I agree with the vast majority of regulations,” Musk said, noting that he quibbles with 1% or less of the regulations. “A referee is a good thing.”
At the same time, Musk reiterated his “fairly utopian” belief that AI could create an “age of abundance” without “shortage of goods and services.” He says AI could lead to a future in which “no jobs are needed” and people enjoy a high universal income. He mentioned a world of AI tutors and companionship for people like his son who have learning disabilities and difficulty making friends.
The next AI security summit is expected to be hosted by Korea and France and scheduled for 2024.