Elon Musk to search for new Twitter CEO and warns against overreliance on AI

Tech billionaire shares his wit and wisdom and admits he often has 20-hour workdays

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Elon Musk says the world needs to tap the brakes on artificial intelligence and stop forcing children to study so much. He also believes aliens probably do not exist.

The tech billionaire is also looking for someone to run Twitter day to day ― after he sacked most of the company's leadership ― and said we should limit our children's time on social media.

The Tesla and SpaceX owner gave an insight into his 20-hour workdays, which he said are "relatively unusual and rather painful".

He was speaking remotely on the final day of the World Government Summit, in a 30-minute talk with Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and chairman of the WGS.

This may slow down AI a little bit, but I think that could be a good thing
Elon Musk on regulating AI

Risky AI

At a summit dominated by talk of AI, Mr Musk said he was concerned about programmes that the public now have access to.

"Artificial intelligence is something we need to be quite concerned about," he told the audience.

"ChatGPT has illustrated to people just how advanced AI has become. It has been advanced for a while, it just didn't have a user interface that was accessible to most people.

"And there are much more advanced versions that are coming out."

He said AI must be regulated as cars, aircraft and medicine are ― "I think it is actually a bigger risk than cars, planes or medicine", he said.

"This may slow down AI a little bit, but I think that could be a good thing."

What next for Twitter

Twitter's previous boss Parag Agrawal was sacked along with other executives ― and half the workforce ― when Mr Musk took over and assumed all the top jobs.

"I need to stabilise the organisation and make sure it's in a financially healthy place … and that the roadmap is clearly laid out," said Mr Musk, who admitted that the past year has been "quite the rollercoaster".

"Towards the end of this year would be good timing to find someone else to run the company."

Mr Al Gergawi asked Mr Musk about disinformation on the platform.

The Twitter boss said there was a "competition for truth", although he admitted the need for verified accounts for governments and public figures.

The billionaire — who has notably blocked some critics from his own account on Twitter — said: "Having some criticism is fine, I am constantly attacked on Twitter and I don’t mind. I have to be thick skinned."

'We're probably alone in the universe'

Mr Musk said that the UFOs found in the US skies this past week were unlikely to be aliens.

“The whole questions of aliens is a very interesting one, what is typically the Fermi paradox, which is that if the universe is really as old as science thinks it is, then where are the aliens?

“If we’ve really been around for 13.8 billion years, shouldn’t there be aliens all over the place?”

What are the UFOs being shot down over North America?

What are the UFOs being shot down over North America?

He said that he has seen no evidence of alien technology and alien life whatsoever ― and that could be troubling in some ways because it means humankind is alone.

“What that actually could mean is that ... civilisation consciousness is like a tiny candle in a bathtub,” he said.

“And a very vulnerable, tiny candle that can easily get blown out.”

Mr Musk speaks often about the need to make human life multi-planetary to keep the human species from going extinct.

He wants to send millions of people to Mars using his Starship rockets, which are in development.

Shave a few years off school

Mr Musk said that 12 years of school and four years of higher education was too far much for young people.

“You take a long time to ensure there's emotional, mental and physical maturity that is happening simultaneously with the education,” he said.

“So 12 years is probably not bad. We probably don't need an additional four, five or six years in college, as I see it that’s probably excessive. Probably shave a few years.”

School could be made more interesting for pupils, with some subjects like maths, engineering and physics being taught in compelling ways.

“Explain to children why we are teaching a particular subject. If you teach knowledge, especially in the sciences, as a solution to a problem, it's much more effective.

“Critical thinking is something that should be taught to children at a relatively young age, as effectively like a mental firewall to really think about when somebody tells you something, is it cogent? Is it true?”

Juggling family and all those jobs

The father of nine gave an insight into his life as one of the world's busiest people, while also trying to spend time with his family.

He spoke about what kind of social media restrictions he puts on his children.

"I generally do not try to restrict social media for my kids, although that might have been a mistake," Mr Musk said.

"They've really been programmed by Reddit and Youtube, more Reddit than anything else.

"Probably, I would limit social media a bit more than I had in the past.

"And just, you know, take note of what they're watching, because I think they're being programmed by some social media algorithm, which you may or may not agree with.

"So, I think, probably, one needs to supervise children's use of social media."

Since acquiring Twitter, Mr Musk said he has added a lot more workload to his plate and currently often has a 20-hour workday, which he said was "relatively unusual and rather painful".

He said he gets six hours of sleep each night.

"So, if I stayed close to six hours, I find that I am awake longer, but I get less time," he said.

"So, I do have to work different amounts."

Updated: February 15, 2023, 5:55 PM