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Elon Musk foresees superhuman AI to be smarter than people next year

His assertion comes with a caveat that shortages of training chips and rising demand for power could limit plans in the near term

Superhuman AI (artificial intelligence) that is smarter than anybody in the entire world could exist next year, Elon Musk has said, unless computing and power demands of the sector become unsustainable before then.The forecast is a sharp tightening of an earlier claim from the multibillionaire tech magnet that super intelligent AI would exist by 2029. “My guess is that we’ll have AI that is smarter than any one human probably around the end of next year,” Musk opined in a livestreamed interview on his social networkingsite X. That prediction was clearly made but with the caveat that growing demands for power and short supply of the most powerful AI training chips could limit the progress in the near term.“Last year it was chip-constrained,” he informed. “People could not get enough Nvidia chips. This year it’s transitioning to a voltage transformer supply. In a year or two, it’s just electricity supply.”

In 2023, when he forecast a five- to six-year runway for superintelligence, Musk was vocal in sharing his concerns about the ramifications. Speaking in the launch event of his AI startup (xAI), that year, he said: “If I could press pause on AI or really advanced AI digital superintelligence I would. It doesn’t seem like that is realistic so xAI is essentially going to build an AI. In a good way, sort of hopefully.” “It’s actually important for us to worry about a Terminator future in order to avoid a Terminator future,” Musk added, referring to the film where a self-aware computer system starts battle against humanity.

A year laterxAI is resolutely trying to lead the development of superintelligence. In a recent interview, Musk claimed the latest version of its chatbotGrok AI was comparable with GPT-4, the leading model from OpenAI. GPT-4 is more than a year old, and challengers have already met or surpassed its capabilities, with Anthropic’s Claude 3 Opus widely accepted as the new market leader.

The tech magnet’s predictions are notoriously freely made. In 2016, he wrongly predicted that within two years a Tesla would be capable of driving autonomously from New York to Los Angeles. That same year he boasted his SpaceX rocket company would fly to Mars in 2018 – it still has not. And in 2017, Musk claimed that his Neuralink brain chip startup’s first product would be on the market “in about four years”. The first human received an implant from the company only seven years later.

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