Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, recently called for the creation of a federal department of artificial intelligence (AI) during a private meeting on Capitol Hill with other tech moguls.
Musk told senators during the meeting that AI poses a “civilizational risk” to governments and communities worldwide, per One America News (OAN).
Musk’s comments came during a closed-door meeting concerning the development of AI.
The conference was attended by Big Tech leaders such as Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Sundar Pichai, and Sam Altman. Despite all 100 senators having been invited to attend the meeting, not all went.
After the nearly three-hour meeting ended, Musk spoke to reporters outside Capitol Hill about the discussion that took place behind closed doors. He called the summit “historic.”
The Tesla CEO also reportedly supported the addition of a federal department to oversee the development of AI. He reiterated that AI poses a significant risk to humanity.
“The consequences of AI going wrong are severe so we have to be proactive rather than reactive,” Musk told reporters. “The question is really one of civilizational risk. It’s not like … one group of humans versus another. It’s like, hey, this is something that’s potentially risky for all humans everywhere.”
When asked if AI could potentially eradicate humanity, Musk replied, “There is some chance that is above zero that AI will kill us all. I think it’s low. But if there’s some chance, I think we should also consider the fragility of human civilization.”
Elon Musk is asked: “Is AI going to kill us all?”
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) September 13, 2023
Zuckerberg echoed Musk’s comments, arguing that Congress should provide oversight to the development of AI.
“I agree that Congress should engage with AI to support innovation and safeguards,” Zuckerberg said. “This is an emerging technology, there are important equities to balance here, and the government is ultimately responsible for that.”
Musk reportedly said there appears to be a “strong consensus” for the creation of a federal department of AI. The SpaceX CEO said he believes such an agency would operate like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He added that potential employees must be “proactive while reactive.”