Elon Musk says AI regulation ‘will be annoying’ but, ultimately, ‘having a referee is a good thing’ to reduce the threat to mankind

Elon Musk says AI regulation 'will be annoying' but, ultimately, 'having a referee is a good thing' to reduce the threat to mankind

Elon Musk renewed calls for regulations on artificial intelligence during an on-stage conversation with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as part of a two-day UK AI Safety Summit.

Regulation “will be annoying, it’s true,” Musk said in the remarks Thursday, “but I think we’ve learned over the years that having a referee is a good thing.”

The billionaire’s high-profile appearance alongside Sunak capped off a summit marked by tensions between those who are focused on supposed existential risks from AI and those who worry about near-term concerns, such as the technology’s potential to fuel discrimination and misinformation. Musk himself has repeatedly raised alarms about AI’s future impact on civilization.

In the conversation with Sunak, the Tesla Inc. chief executive officer described AI as the “most disruptive force in history” and said we will eventually “have something that’s smarter than the smartest human.”

As a result, Musk said, “there will come a point where no job is needed. You can have a job if you want a job.” Whether that makes people feel comfortable or not remains unclear, he said. “One of the challenges in the future will be how do we find meaning in life,” he said.

On Wednesday, the UK government unveiled the Bletchley Declaration, a communique signed by 28 countries warning of the potential for AI to cause “catastrophic” harm. Among those countries that signed was China.

Musk praised Sunak’s decision to invite China to the summit as “very good” and said he discussed AI safety on a visit to China earlier this year.

“China is willing to participate in AI safety and thank you for inviting them,” Musk said. “I think we should thank China for attending.”

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