Elon Musk warns AI ‘one of biggest risks’ to civilization during ChatGPT’s rise

Twitter boss Elon Musk warned Wednesday that unrestrained development of artificial intelligence poses a potential existential threat to humanity as ChatGPT explodes in popularity.

The billionaire mogul called on governments to develop clear safety guardrails for AI technology while discussing the rise of ChatGPT and other advancements during a virtual appearance at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

“One of the biggest risks to the future of civilization is AI. But AI is both positive or negative – it has great promise, great capability but also, with that comes great danger,” said Musk, who co-founded the OpenAI firm behind the development of ChatGPT.

“I mean, you look at say, the discovery of nuclear physics. You had nuclear power generation but also nuclear bombs,” he added.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk spoke at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

Musk’s remarks came as critics raise questions about ChatGPT’s flaws, such as its propensity to display bias or spit out factually incorrect information.

In one instance, ChatGPT refused a prompt to write an article about Hunter Biden in the style of the New York Post, but complied when asked to write in CNN’s voice.

The AI-powered chatbot has gained massive exposure in recent months for its ability to generate high-quality humanlike responses to user prompts.

During Musk’s Dubai appearance, he stressed he no longer has a stake in OpenAI and is not involved in its operations.  He said he left OpenAI’s board of directors after being an early investor along with his former PayPal partner Peter Thiel.

“ChatGPT, I think, has illustrated to people just how advanced AI has become. AI has been advanced for a while; it just didn’t have a user interface that was accessible to most people,” Musk said. “What ChatGPT has done is just put an accessible user interface on AI technology that has been present for a few years.”

Elon Musk
Elon Musk co-founded OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT.

Microsoft announced plans to pour $10 billion into OpenAI last month, while rival tech giant Google is scrambling to develop a ChatGPT rival called “Bard.”

“I think we need to regulate AI safety, frankly,” said Musk, who also founded Tesla, SpaceX and Neurolink. “Think of any technology which is potentially a risk to people, like if it’s aircraft or cars or medicine, we have regulatory bodies that oversee the public safety of cars and planes and medicine. I think we should have a similar set of regulatory oversight for artificial intelligence, because I think it is actually a bigger risk to society.”

Musk has openly expressed his fears about AI technology in the past.

Last March, he identified “artificial intelligence going wrong” as one of the three biggest threats facing humans, alongside a falling birth rate and the rise of what he described as “religious extremism.”

Musk also made news about his plans for Twitter during the Dubai summit.

The billionaire said he expects to find a CEO to replace him at Twitter “probably toward the end of this year.” He bought the social media platform for $44 billion last October.

“I think I need to stabilize the organization and just make sure it’s in a financial healthy place,” Musk said. “I’m guessing probably toward the end of this year would be good timing to find someone else to run the company.”

He also tweeted an image of his dog sitting behind a desk at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco with the message: “The new CEO of Twitter is amazing.”

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