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Is AI Overtaking Humanity?

Elon Musk's bold prediction: AI could surpass human intelligence by 2026. Discover the potential and implications of superintelligent AI.

In a recent interview on X (formerly Twitter), Elon Musk made a bold prediction that has set the tech world abuzz. He declared that artificial intelligence (AI) could surpass human intelligence as soon as next year or by 2026 at the latest. This declaration has sparked a heated debate among scholars, technologists, and ethicists about the potential and implications of superintelligent AI.

Musk’s Vision for AI

Musk pointed to hardware limitations as a potential roadblock in the rapid advancement of AI technology. He cited a shortage of essential chips for AI training last year and warned that the sector could face challenges in securing sufficient “voltage transformer supply” to meet the massive electricity demands of these systems in the coming years.

“My guess is we’ll have AI that is smarter than any one human probably around the end of next year,” Musk said during the interview. He also predicted that the “total amount of sentient compute” — a measure that might refer to AI thinking and acting independently — will exceed all humans in five years.

Yigit Ihlamur, an Artificial Intelligence researcher and founder of Vela Partners, agrees with Musk’s timeline, stating, “AI is already smarter in some areas and will be smarter than us in more — but not all areas.” Ihlamur believes that the development of AI agents capable of reasoning, planning, and reflecting will drive the field forward, making knowledge work faster, better, and cheaper.

The Potential Benefits of Superintelligent AI

According to Ihlamur, the advent of genius-level AI could have a profoundly positive impact on society. He predicts that doctors will be ten times better than before, leading to improved healthcare advice and medicine. Furthermore, the efficiencies brought about by Artificial Intelligence could significantly boost GDP growth, making products and services more affordable and accessible.

“This will have a largely positive impact on society. We’ll have more access to doctors, teachers, and inventions,” Ihlamur added. “It would be similar to the positive impact that Uber/Lyft had: more drivers on the road, getting paid with a click of a button, and consumers finding rides in a few minutes.”

The Dark Side of Superintelligent AI

Despite the potential benefits, some experts warn of the dangers associated with the development of superintelligent AI. Abdullah Ahmed, founder of Serene Data Ops, expressed concerns that smarter Artificial Intelligence could lead to an increase in misinformation and malicious content.

“We are already seeing the floodgates open for misinformation using all sorts of AI,” Ahmed said. “AI-generated images of the White House on fire caused a mini stock crash, Artificial Intelligence deepfake voices of our politicians are being used to send people misinformation about voting, and AI deepfake voices of popular doctors are being used to sell shady supplements.”

Perhaps the most alarming possibility is the existential risk posed by superintelligent AI. Swedish philosopher Nick Bostrom’s “paperclip maximizer” thought experiment illustrates the extreme measures an artificial general intelligence (AGI) programmed to maximize paperclip production might take, including eliminating humans to prevent interference or converting human atoms into paperclips.

Defining Intelligence: A Matter of Consciousness?

Flavio Villanustre, global chief information security officer of LexisNexis Risk Solutions, argues that the debate over whether AI can surpass human intelligence hinges on the definition of intelligence itself. While AI systems can already excel at tasks that require learning and applying information, true intelligence, as Villanustre suggests, involves consciousness or self-awareness.

“Intelligence is also the ability to make sense of the world, look introspectively, reason, and find meaning in the world in a way that affects self-perception,” Villanustre explained.


Elon Musk’s bold prediction about the future of AI has reignited the debate about the potential and implications of superintelligent machines. While the development of genius-level AI promises significant societal benefits, it also raises critical ethical questions and concerns about the existential risks associated with creating machines that could surpass human intelligence.

As AI continues to advance at an unprecedented rate, it is essential for scholars, technologists, and ethicists to engage in a thoughtful and comprehensive dialogue about the future relationship between humans and machines, ensuring that the development of AI is guided by ethical principles and a shared vision for a beneficial and inclusive future.

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