Billionaire Elon Musk and World Economic Forum (WEF) Chairman Klaus Schwab faced off this week, presenting competing visions for the future at this year’s World Government Summit (WGS).
Convened from Feb. 13-15 in Dubai under the slogan “Shaping Future Governments,” the WGS brought together prominent figures in politics, business and global governance in a format akin to that of the recent WEF annual meeting.
The WGS bills itself as “a global knowledge exchange platform dedicated to shaping the future of government worldwide.”
Participants comprised over 300 speakers and 10,000 attendees, including 250 government ministers and representatives from 80 international, regional and governmental organizations, including the U.N., WEF, World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Musk, Schwab and other leaders debated conflicting hopes and concerns for the future. The WGS itself also predicted what the world will look like by 2071, released as part of the WGS’ “Government in 2071” initiative.
These projections foresee a dystopian future of catastrophic climate change, mass migration, mass layoffs due to automation, ensuing social unrest and the merging of humans and technology as the “best-case scenario” for 2071.
Musk: AI, one-world government pose threats to humanity
Musk addressed the ongoing rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and the dangers of a one-world government, speaking by video to the WGS on Wednesday.
“One of the biggest risks to the future of civilization is AI,” Musk told WGS attendees. “But AI is both positive or negative — it has great promise, great capability but also, with that comes great danger.”
He commented on ChatGPT, the increasingly popular AI tool developed by OpenAI. Musk co-founded OpenAI with former PayPal partner Peter Thiel, but has since left its board of directors, the New York Post reported.
“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,” said Musk.
“What ChatGPT has done is just put an accessible user interface on AI technology that has been present for a few years,” he added.
Musk called upon governments to develop safety regulations for AI, comparing its rise to the development of nuclear technology.
“You look at, say, the discovery of nuclear physics. You had nuclear power generation but also nuclear bombs,” said Musk, adding:
“I think we need to regulate AI safety, frankly. 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.”
This is not the first time Musk has made such remarks about AI. In March 2022, Musk said that “artificial intelligence going wrong” is one of the three biggest threats facing humanity, along with falling birth rates and the rise of “religious extremism.”
Others have expressed concerns about AI “going wrong” — alleging that bias is baked into the technology. The New York Post reported, for instance, that ChatGPT refused to write an article about Hunter Biden in the newspaper’s critical style, but it was willing to write the article from the perspective of CNN.
Business Insider argues that AI tools like ChatGPT must be “woke” in order to attract major investors.
Major investments are pouring into such AI technologies. Microsoft announced last month it is investing $10 billion in OpenAI, while Google is working on a competitor to ChatGPT known as “Bard.”
Musk, in his talk to WGS delegates, also addressed what he sees as the dangers of one-world government.
“I know this is called the World Government Summit, but I think we should be maybe a little bit concerned about actually becoming too much of a single world government,” he said. “We want to avoid creating a civilizational risk by having, frankly — this may sound a little odd — too much cooperation between governments.”
Instead, Musk called for the maintenance of “civilizational diversity.” He said:
“I think we want to be a little bit cautious about being too much of a single civilization, because if we are too much of a single civilization, then the whole thing may collapse.
“Obviously not suggesting war or anything like that, but I think we want to be a little bit wary of actually cooperating too much. It sounds a little odd, but we want to have some amount of civilizational diversity, such that if something does go wrong with some part of civilization, that the whole thing doesn’t collapse and humanity keeps moving forward.”
Musk also had some advice for political leaders and other prominent figures: speak in your own voice.
Read More – Musk vs. Schwab at World Government Summit — Two Competing Visions for the Future