Elon Musk is sounding the alarm again about the dangers posed to humanity by AI, warning that more has to be done to limit its development or risk sleepwalking into a disaster. 

Speaking in Paris at the Viva Tech conference, Musk warned that regulations were needed to prevent artificial intelligence from morphing into something that can't be controlled. This, the Tesla founder said, could result in a “catastrophic outcome” for humanity.

“I think there's a real danger for digital super intelligence having negative consequences,” said Musk.

Musk’s warning echoes one he sounded in in an online petition he signed with over a 1,000 other technologists and researchers in March. The signatories warned that unchecked AI systems with competitive human intelligence would pose “catastrophic risks to society,” and called on OpenAI to pause further development of its artificial tool ChatGPT.


Short of a voluntary halt, the authors called on governments to force a moratorium if the company does not pause development. Musk repeated this at Viva Tech, reiterating his support for regulation because of the risks it poses to the public.

As a whole, Musk predicted that AI would “most likely” bring positive outcomes, including ushering in an “age of abundance” in terms of access to goods and services. But, he said, this should not be taken as a given.

"That's not every possible outcome," said Musk. "We need to minimize the probability that something will go wrong with digital super intelligence."

Warning against the risks of AI was only one part of Musk's appearance in Paris. It came as part of a wider expression of his vision for the future and his “core philosophy” around discovering the “meaning of life.” He connected this quest to his advocacy for sustainable energy to ward off global climate change, and expanding the possibilities for space exploration through his company SpaceX.


Asked how Twitter fit in with this framework, Musk again asserted that his purchase was motivated by a desire to preserve free-speech and steer it into being a “positive force for civilization.” In May, Musk stepped down as CEO in favor of former NBC executive Linda Yaccarino, but he will remain Twitter’s owner.

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