On Tuesday evening, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO and outgoing Twitter head executive Elon Musk sat down with David Faber of CNBC for a much-anticipated interview. Covering a broad range of topics which included business practices and political talking points, the final component of the discussion centered on artificial intelligence ( ). Here, the technology entrepreneur offered a nuanced perspective on the innovation.
Of course, AI protocols exploded into the mainstream consciousness with OpenAI and its popular chatbot ChatGPT. Not shy about voicing his opinions, Elon Musk naturally had thoughts about AI and its economic and social implications. At the same time, he offered strong hints of an ethical framework, thus contradicting some of the harsh criticisms leveled against him.
Before OpenAI Was Elon Musk
One can’t avoid not discussing perhaps the bluntest quote regarding AI during the CNBC interview: “I am the reason OpenAI exists.”
Elon Musk forwarded the statement in response to David Faber’s question regarding Tesla head’s seeming frustration with OpenAI. During the discussion, Musk provided some background information, stating that he told his friend Larry Page, co-founder of Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL), to be careful about the risks that AI posed.
At the heart of Musk’s concerns center on OpenAI becoming a for-profit enterprise when it originally sought to become a non-profit open-source organization. Further, Musk expressed skepticism about Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and its agenda regarding its OpenAI partnership.
An Awkward Arrangement
At another point in the interview, Faber inquired about AI and its implications for generating productivity gains. “You showed those robots,” the journalist said, in an apparent reference to Tesla’s manufacturing machinery. “I mean, I can imagine what they conceivably could do when powered by AI, but I’m also curious because you’ve certainly been concerned what percentage do you give the chance that it will destroy humanity?”
“Well, the advent of artificial general intelligence is called a singularity because it is so hard to predict what will happen after that,” Elon Musk responded. “But I think it’s very much a double-edged sword. I think it’s, there’s there’s a there’s a [sic] strong probability that it will make life much better and that we’ll have an age of abundance.”
Still, Musk warned that “…there’s some chance that it goes wrong and destroys humanity. Hopefully, that chance is small, but it’s not zero. And so I think we want to take whatever actions we can think of to minimize the probability that AI goes wrong.”
A ‘ChatGPT Moment’
Though Elon Musk strongly emphasized the dangers of AI gone amuck, he also recognized its inevitability. “I think Tesla will have sort of ChatGPT moment maybe if not this year, I’d say no later than next year.”
Initially caught off guard, Faber sought clarification. “Yeah, suddenly 3 million cars will be able to drive themselves with no one,” Musk answered.
The statement goes back to an early segment of the interview when Musk explained, “[t]here’s a lot of costs associated with cars.” Essentially, the billionaire tech maverick explained that a typical passenger’s car utility ranges from 10 to 12 hours of productivity. However, with autonomous driving protocols, the utility of a vehicle may be much higher.
“Say there’s 168 hours in a week, and probably as a rough guess, an autonomous car is, will be able to be active instead of for 10 hours a week, probably in our view for about 50. But it’s the same car. So and it costs the same to build,” Musk clarified.
By identifying productivity gaps and addressing them, few can unlock value quite like Elon Musk.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.