Musk: SpaceX, Starlink haven’t seen a use for AI

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It may come as a bit of surprise, but Elon Musk’s space company, SpaceX, is hardly using any artificial intelligence, he revealed at the Milken Global Conference in Los Angeles on Monday.

While Musk believes that more than 99% of all intelligence will “eventually” be “digital” rather than “biological,” current AI systems haven’t proved useful for SpaceX’s needs, Musk told interviewer Michael Milken on stage.

“I’ll ask it questions about the Fermi Paradox, about rocket engine design, about electrochemistry. And so far, the AI has been terrible at all those questions. So there’s still a long way to go.”

Even Starlink, the company’s internet satellite business and primary driver of SpaceX’s valuation, “does not use AI,” Musk said. “I’m not against using it. Just, we haven’t seen a use for it.”

Since the launch of ChatGPT, companies big and small have rushed to prove they can harness generative AI, and Musk has pushed its deployment both on the X social network and through his new X.ai startup.

Tesla’s autos use more conventional AI extensively in various still-evolving and controversial driver assistance features. However, Musk did not bring up Tesla during the event, nor was he asked about it.

While Musk highlighted civilizational risks such as plummeting birth rates and threats to democracy as key concerns. “Anything that’s leading us away from a merit-based system” also worries him, although he also made light of these concerns. He noted that he listens to podcasts about the collapse of civilization to help him get to sleep.

 

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