Billionaire Elon Musk has a passion for advancing technology; he recently announced plans to create the world’s single largest solar production and told CNBC he wants to put humans on Mars by the end of the 2020s.
But it appears there’s one area of technology he isn’t ready to push: artificial intelligence.
Musk told a CNBC anchor Tuesday that thinking about the doom-and-gloom possibilities of autonomous robots makes him think of ‘Terminator” and reminds him of a Monty Python line.
“I mean, I don’t think — in the movie ‘Terminator,’ they didn’t create AI to — they didn’t expect, you know some sort of ‘Terminator’-like outcome. It is sort of like the ‘Monty Python’ thing: Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition,” Musk said. “It’s just — you know, but you have to be careful.”
Musk said he is a supporter of certain firms that focus on artificial intelligence, like DeepMind (before Google acquired it) and a company called Vicarious. But Musk says his strategy is less focused on making money, bu to keep a watchful eye on the growing technology.
“Mostly I sort of – it’s not from the standpoint of actually trying to make any investment return,” he explained. “It’s really, I like to just keep an eye on what’s going on with artificial intelligence. I think there is potentially a dangerous outcome there.”
When asked what AI could be used for, Musk had a murky answer.
“I don’t know. But there are some scary outcomes. And we should try to make sure the outcomes are good, not bad.
Though he didn’t have a clear answer on the future of AI, the rocketship and electric car tycoon did share one of his clearer visions about space travel: to save the human race.
“I’m hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years, I think it’s certainly possible for that to occur,” he said. ”But the thing that matters long term is to have a self-sustaining city on Mars, to make life multi-planetary.”
Musk said that the SpaceX goal was essential to the future survival of humanity: Either mankind will slip the surly bonds of Earth and become an interplanetary species, or remain a single-planet culture and eventually see extinction due to a man-made or natural catastrophe, according to The Register.
Musk is also the chairman of SolarCity, America’s largest solar power provider, and he announced Tuesday that the company plans to acquire Silevo, a solar panel technology and manufacturing company whose modules have “demonstrated a unique combination of high energy output and low cost.
“Our intent is to combine what we believe is fundamentally the best photovoltaic technology with massive economies of scale to achieve a breakthrough in the cost of solar power,” the company’s post read. According to Forbes, the announcement caused solar-panel stocks to skyrocket, and SolarCity shares “finished the day up over 17.5%.”
“We are in discussions with the state of New York to build the initial manufacturing plant, continuing a relationship developed by the Silevo team,” Musk, announced with Lyndon (CEO) and Peter (CTO) Rive; co-founders of Solar City. “At a targeted capacity greater than 1 GW within the next two years, it will be one of the single largest solar panel production plants in the world.”
You can watch the full CNBC Closing Bell here:
(H/T: Business Insider)
Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter.