'AI could be more dangerous than nuclear weapons': Musk to Sunak at safety summit

Sunak said it was important not to be alarmist about the technology

AP11_03_2023_000018B Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, left, attends an in-conversation event with Tesla and SpaceX's CEO Elon Musk in London, Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023 | AP

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, on Thursday, said that achievements at the first international AI Safety Summit would tip the balance in favour of humanity in the race to contain the risks from rapid advances in cutting-edge artificial intelligence.

Sunak, later met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, where the two of them discussed AI. The conversation was played on the social network X, which Musk owns. While Sunak said it was important not to be alarmist about the technology, which could bring huge benefits, Musk, at the summit said, “Here we are for the first time, really in human history, with something that is going to be far more intelligent than us. It's not clear to me if we can control such a thing.”

Beginning the conversation, after Sunak said that he was excited to have the technology superstar at the summit, asked, “What do we need to do to make sure we do enough to regulate AI?” “Some people said I was wrong to invite China (to the summit),” he said. “Should we be engaging with them? Can we trust them? Was that the right thing to have done?” he went on to ask Musk and then complemented him, by calling him a “a brilliant innovator and technologist.” 

Musk, who is often known to be blunt said, “Having a referee is a good thing.” and added that he listed London as second only to San Francisco in terms of global AI power. He called Sunak’s decision to invite China to the summit “essential” and thanked China for attending.” 

Musk said, “It’s hard to say exactly what that moment is, but there will come a point where no job is needed. You can have a job if you wanted to have a job for personal satisfaction. But the AI would be able to do everything.” Musk recently founded a new AI startup called xAI. He also said that there will come a time when AI will be smarter than the smartest human.

“If you wish for a magic genie, that gives you any wish you want, and there’s no limit. You don’t have those three wish limits nonsense, it’s both good and bad. One of the challenges in the future will be how do we find meaning in life,” he said and said that AI could be more dangerous than nuclear weapons. He also urged that efforts to develop AI more advanced than OpenAI’s GPT-4 software be put on hold.

As Musk and Sunak debated on the risks of frontier AI models, Musk called for an “off switch” built-in to models to “throw it into a safe state.” he also said he wanted to make the social media platform X as “accurate as possible and as truthful as possible.” 

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