Elon Musk says there's a 'not zero' chance of AI being a force for bad

Elon Musk says there's a 'not zero' chance of AI being a force for bad
Elon Musk.Spencer Platt/Getty Images
  • Elon Musk thinks AI would most likely be a force for good — but there's a 20% chance the tech could go bad.
  • Musk, who was in conversation with UK Prime Minister Sunak, also said AI would make jobs obsolete.

Elon Musk thinks AI can mostly do positive things for humankind — but he is also saying there's a non-zero chance of the tech being a force for bad.

"AI will be a force for good most likely," Musk said in a discussion with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday. "But the probability of it going bad is not zero percent."

Musk — the wealthiest person on the planet with an estimated fortune of $208 billion — thinks AI is likely to be 80% good and 20% bad.

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He also reiterated his warnings about the unknown risks of AI.

"AI is like a magic genie problem where you have a genie that can grant all the wishes. Usually, those stories don't end well," said Musk.


Musk and Sunak were speaking at the close of the UK's AI Safety Summit — a two-day event where governments, AI companies, civil society groups, and researchers discussed the risks of the technology that has gone mainstream following the viral success of the ChatGPT chatbot late last year.

The billionaire, who cofounded OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT chatbot, launched xAI, a new AI company, in July. He also heads up several technology-driven companies, including electric vehicle maker Tesla and space exploration company SpaceX, so his thoughts on AI are closely watched.

During the almost hour-long conversation, Musk shared some somber predictions — including how the technology could make jobs obsolete.

While people can still work "for personal satisfaction," AI "will be able to do everything" one day, said Musk.

This means societies would need to provide "universal high income" to people — an alternative to universal basic income, he said.


The tech tycoon is an outspoken advocate of AI regulation. Earlier this year, he signed an open letter calling for a pause on AI development alongside other tech execs and AI researchers.