Elon Musk has claimed that artificial intelligence (AI) will eventually make jobs optional as it takes over most work.

Speaking remotely via webcam at the VivaTech 2024 conference in Paris, Musk stated, “probably none of us will have a job,” when asked about AI’s impact on society.

The Tesla founder elaborated that in the future, work might become more of a hobby than a necessity. “If you want to do a job that’s kinda like a hobby, you can do a job,” Musk said. “But otherwise, AI and the robots will provide any goods and services that you want.”

This vision of a future dominated by AI comes after a challenging year for Tesla. Earlier in 2024, Musk cut more than 10 percent of the global Tesla workforce due to reduced demand for electric vehicles and plummeting sales.

In a statement, he explained, “We have done a thorough review of the organisation and made the difficult decision to reduce our headcount by more than 10 percent 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.”

A “universal high income” will be necessary

At the VivaTech event, Musk also touched on the necessity of a “universal high income” to manage the transition to an AI-driven economy. While he assured there would be “no shortage of goods or services,” he raised concerns about the psychological and existential implications of such a shift. “The question will really be one of meaning – if the computer and robots can do everything better than you, does your life have meaning?” Musk pondered. “I do think there’s perhaps still a role for humans in this – in that we may give AI meaning.”

Additionally, Musk urged parents to limit their children’s exposure to social media, warning that “they’re being programmed by a dopamine-maximising AI.”

The capabilities of AI have grown exponentially in recent years, sparking ongoing ethical debates in science, technology, and politics. Musk’s own ventures are at the forefront of this technological revolution. Earlier this year, his company Neuralink achieved a significant milestone by successfully implanting a computer chip into a human brain for the first time.

Neuralink, founded in 2016, aims to connect human brains to computers to address complex neurological conditions. In January, 29-year-old Noland Arbaugh, who was left disabled in a car accident, became the first person to receive the brain chip. “The surgery was super easy,” Arbaugh reported. “I literally was released from the hospital a day later. I have no cognitive impairments.”

The Neuralink device, roughly the size of a large coin, connects thread-like electrodes to the brain, potentially helping those with neurological conditions by linking their brain waves to an app.

As AI continues to advance and integrate into various aspects of life, Musk’s insights underscore both the transformative potential and the significant challenges that lie ahead.

 

 

 

 

Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.