Last week, Elon Musk disagreed with Rishi Sunak about the future.
“We’ll soon be in an age of abundance,” he told the Prime Minister.
His metaphor about cooking and washing dishes was a quite sublime way of assuring the world the rise of AI in the workplace would not mean the death of creativity and invention. Or personal prosperity. But I’m not quite sure how we’re going to get round the economic model that has allowed us to progress as far as we have; capitalism. Even the loosest definition of capitalism boils down to self-enrichment through a supply and demand value chain. But Elon insists there’s going to be a lot of goods and services virtually free in the future, thanks to digital super intelligence and robotics.
It’s a compelling narrative
But then he partially contradicts himself with his repeated warnings about a population implosion which will drastically impact productivity in the generation after next. For Elon Musk’s future vision also suggests there’ll be a shortage, not a work shortage. Maybe he’s just talking in an Orwellian type of doublethink. Come to think of it, he did post a picture on X of George Orwell congratulating himself on predicting some or other modern catastrophe, trumpeting the words “Well, I got that right!”.
Meanwhile Rishi’s response to this utopian (Perhaps we should start writing ‘muskian’) vision, came straight out of that well-read work of fiction in 10 Downing Street’s library, named ‘How Bad Leaders Can Fool Almost Everybody’. He said “…work is a good thing, it gives people purpose in their lives.” Of course he’s going to say that. Imagine trying to get re-elected on the platform of ‘NO MORE CAPITALISM’. Not, of course, that any other platform will get the conservatives re-elected, of course.
But here’s where it all makes sense. Musk is master of self-promotion.
Go the Other Way
He simply goes upstream. Part of Elon Musk’s future vision includes whatever evil big tech says, he goes the opposite way. Then when big tech does any sort of about-turn, he goes downstream. He’s done this before. I can remember him removing the sting of AI ten years ago, when he talked about why AI should be called PI – meaning Paired Intelligence. For some years after that, I felt that AI couldn’t happen without my direct intervention. Well, AI showed us, didn’t it?
But that’s how he invites trust. The richest man in the world turns out to be a voice of the people!
And that’s how he pushes up his stock.
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