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‘If you can think of it, AI can do it’

YOU CAN always rely on Elon Musk to surprise, challenge and provoke — and he didn’t disappoint his Lions audience at WPP's seminar, Exploring The New Frontiers Of Innovation.

Speaking to WPP CEO Mark Read, Musk talked about the transformative power of technology, the impact of AI on creativity and business, the need for multi-planetary civilisations, robots, a future without work and why we’re living in “the most interesting time in history”.

Read kicked off by reminding Musk of his comment last November, when he told advertisers fleeing X to “go fuck” themselves. What  did he mean? “I think it’s important to have a global free-speech platform where people can air their opinions,” Musk said.

“And some advertisers were insisting on censorship. Advertisers have a right to appear next to content that they find compatible with their brands. That’s cool. But what is not cool is insisting there can be no content that they disagree with on the platform.”

He added that, in order for X to serve as “the public square of the world”, it needed to be a free-speech platform: “But that doesn’t mean people can say illegal things. It’s free speech within the law.”

He did, however, acknowledge that he occasionally “shoots himself in the foot” with his posts. “But at least you know it’s genuine and it’s not a PR department. I guess I think it’s better to be real than to go through a filter.”

The question of reality was central to the conversation — notably in terms of how AI is set to change the world. Unsurprisingly, Musk is an optimist: “I agree with Geoff Hinton, the godfather of AI — there’s a 10%-20% probability of something terrible happening. But that means the glass is 80% full. I think the most likely outcome is one of abundance, where goods and services are available to anyone.”

As for what AI means for the creative industries, Musk said it would amplify creativity. “I think we’ll have a magic genie situation,” he said. “If you can think of it, AI can do it.” He also predicted that the creative companies that live through the coming transition will be ones who embrace AI and use it effectively. “If you’re using AI and competing against somebody who’s not, you’ll win.”


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