Elon Musk has told Sky News that AI is a “risk”, as the billionaire joins world leaders and tech bosses at a UK safety summit.

The SpaceX and Tesla owner has long been outspoken about the dangers posed by artificial intelligence, and earlier this year warned it could even lead to “civilisation destruction”.

Asked by Sky News at the summit whether he still thought AI was a “threat to humanity”, he replied: “It’s a risk.”

It comes as countries including the US and China backed a UK deal to collaborate on the need to manage the potentially “catastrophic” dangers it could pose.

The world’s leading AI powers were among 28 nations to agree to the UK’s Bletchley Declaration, which stresses the need for countries to work together to harness the technology’s potential while keeping people safe.

The deal gets its name from Bletchley Park, home to Britain’s Second World War codebreakers, where the two-day summit kicked off on Wednesday.

Mr Musk is among more than 100 major figures from politics and business in attendance, including the likes of OpenAI’s Sam Altman, Google DeepMind’s Demis Hassabis, and US vice president Kamala Harris.

Following the close of play on Thursday, Mr Musk will join Rishi Sunak for a live chat on X (formerly Twitter).

But men have spoken of similarly dystopian threats posed by AI, such as terrorists developing bioweapons or humanity losing control of the tech altogether.

Mr Musk has been more vocal about regulation, though, telling the US Congress back in September there was “overwhelming consensus” for it.

Mr Sunak on the other hand has expressed caution, saying too much oversight would stifle innovation.

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What Elon Musk brings to UK’s safety summit

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What is the AI Safety Summit?

Musk: ‘Not clear’ if humans can control AI

But the world’s richest man changed his tune somewhat ahead of the UK safety summit, voicing his opposition to sweeping safeguards announced by US President Joe Biden earlier this week.

Speaking from the summit, Mr Musk suggested he would prefer a “third-party referee” to regulate the sector.

“It’s not clear to me if we can control such a thing (AI),” he told PA news agency.

“But I think we can aspire to guide it in a direction that’s beneficial to humanity.”

Critics have said the summit is too focused on hypothetical threats than more clear and present dangers, with businesses and unions calling for legislation to protect jobs and combat misinformation like deepfakes.


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