Elon Musk was asked what he'd tell his kids about choosing a career in the era of AI. His answer revealed he sometimes struggles with self-doubt and motivation.

·3 min read
Elon Musk was asked what he'd tell his kids about choosing a career in the era of AI. His answer revealed he sometimes struggles with self-doubt and motivation.
Elon Musk.
Elon Musk was asked about career advice in the age of AI.Michael Gonzalez/Getty Images
  • Elon Musk was asked in a CNBC interview how he would advise his kids on careers in the AI age.

  • Musk said finding fulfillment can be difficult "if the AI can do your job better than you can."

  • As many companies develop AI, Musk has repeatedly expressed concern about the technology.

Elon Musk expressed concern about AI technology and reflected on his own self-doubt and motivation when faced with the technology's capabilities, in an interview Tuesday night with CNBC's David Faber.

At the end of the hour-long interview, the Tesla CEO was asked how he would advise his kids on pursuing valuable career paths, given the rapid developments of AI technology.

After a noticeable pause, Musk, who has nine known kids, said: "Well, that is a tough question to answer, I guess I would just say to follow their heart in terms of what they find interesting to do or fulfilling to do, and try to be as useful as possible to the rest of society."

Musk said it can be difficult to find fulfillment and meaning in life "if the AI can do your job better than you can."

That would mean AI had advanced to a "magic genie" level, Musk said, meaning you could ask it for anything.

"If I think about it too hard, it frankly can be dispiriting and demotivating, because I've put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into building companies," Musk added.

Musk went on to express that he sometimes experiences self-doubt about whether he should be sacrificing time away from friends and family when faced with the likelihood that AI will eventually be more capable at many tasks than humans.

"Then I'm like 'Should I be doing this?' because if I'm sacrificing time with friends and family, but then ultimately the AI can do all these things. Does that make sense? I don't know," Musk told CNBC.

"To some extent, I have to have a deliberate suspension of disbelief in order to remain motivated," Musk added.

As AI technologies, including OpenAI's ChatGPT, have gained great traction with the public, Musk has repeatedly expressed concern about the technology — though he has recently been recruiting and building an AI project, Insider previously reported. Musk was an early investor and cofounder in OpenAI, but he is no longer involved with the company.

Last month, Musk said AI was "a danger to the public" and stressed a need for government oversight, during an interview with Tucker Carlson. Musk's response reflected similar concerns workers and lawmakers have about the technology. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman met with Congress Tuesday where he said the government should designate an agency to oversee AI developments.

Ultimately, Musk advised his kids, and by extension people entering the workforce, to pursue work that will be useful to humanity.

"I would say work on things you find interesting, fulfilling, and contribute some good to the rest of society," Musk said.

Musk did not respond to Insider's request for comment ahead of publication.

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