'If you can't beat them join them': Elon Musk says our best hope for competing with AI is becoming better cyborgs

Tesla Inc CEO Elon Musk and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Executive Chairman Jack Ma attend the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China, August 29, 2019. REUTERS/Aly SongTesla Inc CEO Musk and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd Executive Chairman Ma attend the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in ShanghaiReuters

  • Elon Musk talked artificial intelligence with Alibaba chairman Jack Ma in Shanghai on Thursday.
  • Musk doubled down on his previous warnings that AI will overtake human intelligence
  • The Tesla CEO also took the time to mention his latest bet, Neuralink, and its planned brain-computer interface that could let human compete with AI.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Elon Musk was in China on Thursday, but not to talk Tesla and its new factory in the country.

Instead, the chief executive talked artificial intelligence on stage next to Alibaba founder Jack Ma, and doubled down on his warnings that the technology could pose grave risks to human society as we know it.

"Generally, people underestimate the capability of AI," Musk said at the conference in Shanghai. "They sort of think it's like a smart human, but it's going to be much more than that. It'll be much smarter than the smartest human."

Musk's proposed solution: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Amid the myriad of Musk's corporate bets, one of the more recent endeavors is "Neuralink." Unveiled in a white paper in July, the company hopes to begin testing its computer-brain interface in humans as early as next year. Experts say the technology is impressive, but called the timeline "delusional."

Read more: Experts are impressed by Elon Musk's brain-decoding implants - but they say his goal to start testing the tech on humans by next year is delusional

"We are already a cyborg," Musk said. "People don't realize - we are already a cyborg because we are so well integrated with our phones and our computers. The phone is almost like an extension of yourself. If you forget your phone, it's like a missing limb. But the communication bandwidth to the phone is very low, especially input."

That's why humans desperately need to catch up.

"We will be far, far surpassed in every single way," he said. "I guarantee it."

More from Musk's AI debate with Jack Ma:

Get the latest Alibaba stock price here.

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