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26th May 2024

Elon Musk says jobs will become ‘optional’ in the future as AI will take them all

Ryan Price

The Tesla founder claims it’s not ‘necessarily a bad thing’.

Elon Musk has said that artificial intelligence is eventually going to take all our jobs and that work will become ‘optional’.

Speaking remotely via webcam at the VivaTech 2024 conference in Paris, the businessman and investor said “probably none of us will have a job,” when asked about what effect artificial intelligence will have on society.

“If you want to do a job that’s kinda like a hobby, you can do a job,” Musk added. “But otherwise, AI and the robots will provide any goods and services that you want.”

Earlier this year, the 52-year-old axed more than 10 per cent of the global Tesla workforce as the company was hit by reduced demand for electric vehicles and sales plummeted.

In a statement released at the time, he said: “We have done a thorough review of the organisation and made the difficult decision to reduce our headcount by more than 10 per cent globally.

“There is nothing I hate more, but it must be done. This will enable us to be lean, innovative and hungry for the next growth phase cycle.”

Expanding on his point at the VivaTech event, Musk said that there would need to be “universal high income” for the AI takeover to come about.

While he assured that there would be “no shortage of goods or services”, Musk did raise concerns over what these changes would mean for people’s mental health and sense of purpose.

“The question will really be one of meaning – if the computer and robots can do everything better than you, does your life have meaning?” he said. “I do think there’s perhaps still a role for humans in this – in that we may give AI meaning.”

He also used his stage time to urge parents to limit the amount of social media that children can see because “they’re being programmed by a dopamine-maximizing AI.”

In recent years, the capabilites of AI have grown exponentially and the debate around the ethics of it’s usage has been a constant one across the worlds of science, technology and politics.

Earlier this year, Musk’s Neuralink company made a major breakthrough in the relationship between technology and humans, by successfully implanting a computer chip into someone’s brain for the first time.

Neuralink was formed in 2016 with the goal of connecting human brains to computers and helping tackle complex neurological conditions.

29-year-old Noland Arbaugh, who was left disabled in a car accident several years ago, became the first human being to receive the brain chip in January.

Speaking in the weeks following the implant, Arbaugh said: “The surgery was super easy.”

“I literally was released from the hospital a day later,” he added. “I have no cognitive impairments.”

The Neuralink device is roughly the size of a large coin, and connects thread-like electrodes to the brain.

Once implanted, the chip can connect your brain waves to an app and may be able to help people with neurological conditions.

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