AI Summit: Elon Musk thinks some would put planet before people


Every human life is precious and sacred and killing one is like triggering a genocide. (Al Quran 5:32)

By Zoe Kleinman & Tom Gerken

Technology editor & Technology reporter for BBC

Elon Musk has warned that artificial intelligence (AI), if programmed by people in the “environmental movement”, may lead to the extinction of humanity.

Appearing on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast on Tuesday, he said some people would use the tech to protect the planet by ending human life.

He was speaking ahead of the UK’s AI safety summit, now underway, where he is due to meet the UK Prime Minister.

Many experts consider such warnings overblown.

Nick Clegg, the president of global affairs at Meta and former deputy prime minister – who is also attending the summit – said there was a danger of focusing too much on what AI might look like in the future and ignoring problems in the here and now.

People shouldn’t let “speculative, sometimes somewhat futuristic predictions” crowd out more immediate challenges, he said.

Mr Musk said his comments were born out of fears the environmental movement had “gone too far”.

“If you start thinking that humans are bad, then the natural conclusion is humans should die out,” he said.

“If AI gets programmed by the extinctionists, its utility function will be the extinction of humanity… they won’t even think it’s bad.”

Mr Musk is due to speak to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on his platform X later on Thursday.

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