Elon Musk Predicts Future Where AI Makes Jobs “Optional”

At a recent tech event in Paris, Tesla CEO Elon Musk discussed the future impact of artificial intelligence on the job market, suggesting that AI could make jobs optional. Speaking remotely at the Viva Tech conference, Musk envisioned a scenario where AI and robotics could fulfill all human needs for goods and services, making traditional employment more akin to pursuing a hobby.

“Probably none of us will have a job,” he stated, before going on to add that “If you want to do a job that’s kinda like a hobby, you can do a job. But otherwise, AI and the robots will provide any goods and services that you want.”

Musk pointed out that for this scenario to succeed, there would need to be a “universal high income,” wherein the wealth created by the new division of labor – the majority of which would be automated – would be distributed to all people, giving them financial freedom and stability without the need to work.

“There would be no shortage of goods or services,” Musk stated, emphasizing that in a world where AI handles productivity, there would be an abundance of goods and services available without conventional labor.

Throughout his keynote, Musk expressed both fascination and concern with the rapid advancement of AI technology, noting its potential to significantly alter societal structures. He also referenced the Culture series of books by Ian Banks, which portrays a society managed by advanced technologies, as a close depiction of what he considers a plausible future shaped by AI.

But he concluded that it’s still essential for humans to guide the direction and purpose of AI: “I do think there’s perhaps still a role for humans in this – in that we may give AI meaning.”