Elon Musk found himself speechless when confronted by Demis Hassabis, co-founder of Google DeepMind, who pointed out a fundamental flaw in Musk’s ambitious plan to colonise Mars.
The incident dates back to 2012 during a conference organised by PayPal founder Peter Thiel, a common investor in both SpaceX and DeepMind.
During a tour of SpaceX’s headquarters, Musk enthusiastically explained his Mars colonisation concept as a solution to global overpopulation.
However, Hassabis interjected with a critical caveat. He highlighted the potential threat posed by advanced AI surpassing human intelligence, emphasising that if AI were to achieve this level, it could follow humanity to Mars and present a similar threat there.
The New York Times, reporting on this encounter, noted that Musk was taken aback and left momentarily “speechless” at Hassabis’ revelation. Despite this, Musk eventually invested in DeepMind.
However, in subsequent years, Musk publicly expressed concerns about the AI capabilities of the firm, revealing a complex relationship between the two.
This exchange, beyond its humorous aspect of leaving Musk momentarily without words, sheds light on a potential oversight in his Mars colonisation aspirations.
The acknowledgement that Earthbound issues, including threats from advanced AI, could persist on Mars underscores the intricate challenges and considerations involved in the ambitious endeavour of interplanetary colonisation.