Tesla CEO Elon Musk appeared at the Italian “Atreju” political conference over the weekend, discussing a handful of themes such as artificial intelligence (AI), falling birth rates, immigration and more.
Musk was interviewed by il Giornale deputy editor Nicola Porro on Saturday after his appearance at the Brothers Party-hosted festival was confirmed earlier this week. The interview, as posted on X, touched on the potential risks and benefits of the emerging AI sector, as well as Musk’s hopes that the world will fix falling birth rates. Along with these themes, Porro asked about immigration and a handful of other subjects in the roughly 45-minute interview.
Appearing at first on the stage with his son X Æ A-12, or X, Musk later handed his son off to be taken backstage during the interview. The interview begins with a question about demographics, to which Musk responds emphasizing the importance of having children to create the next generation of humans, which he says poses a civilizational risk if not done.
Roughly halfway through the interview, Porro asks Musk some questions about AI, and while Musk briefly talks about the potential risks, he notes first and foremost the potential benefits of AI. According to Musk, the use of AI will ring in an age of abundance, though it will require some regulatory oversight to ensure that kind of outcome.
“I think we need to be careful with the advent of AI,” Musk said. “But it’s very much a double-edged sword. You can think of AI as a magic genie. Digital superintelligence will be capable of doing anything.”
Musk also said that he’s strongly in favor of having regulatory oversight on AI, just as we need that with anything that can be considered dangerous to humanity.
Despite being potentially dangerous, Musk emphasized his confidence that AI will be beneficial to humanity in the long run, explaining that it
“The good part of AI is that we’re headed for a future of abundance,” Musk added. “AI and robotics will mean there are no shortage of goods and services. If you can think of it, you can have it, basically.”
Musk went on to call the potential for AI “quite profound,” continuing comparisons to the sector as a magic genie. He notes that, in many stories with a magic genie, users must still be careful about what they wish for, even if it’s for additional wishes.
In addition to AI, Porro asked Musk about the issue of immigration, to which Musk said that he was a strong supporter of legal immigration and making it more accessible for people coming into countries who plan to add value to that country. When asked if he thought Italy would be a good place to invest, Musk said that it would, but he reiterated that the country needed to work on having kids so that its next generation would have people to work in its factories.
Musk later responded “Yes” to a post of showing his statement that, if civilization doesn’t grow, nothing else matters.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 16, 2023
The interview is just the latest of Musk’s discussions on themes like AI, birth rates and immigration in a series of meetings with world leaders. In September, Musk spoke with Hungary President Katalin Novák about the world’s population collapse being one of today’s most important problems. He has also spoken about a range of related topics with world leaders, including Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and others this year alone.
You can watch the full interview between Niccola Porro and Elon Musk at the Italian Atreju conference below.