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Elon Musk invested in Deep Mind after its founder told him that AI could destroy human colonies on Mars: NYT

Elon Musk (left) and Demis Hassabis (right).
Elon Musk (left) and DeepMind cofounder and CEO, Demis Hassabis (right).Kirsty Wigglesworth/POOL/AFP via Getty Images; Toby Melville/WPA Pool via Getty Images
  • Elon Musk once told DeepMind's Demis Hassabis about his plans to colonize Mars, per NYT.

  • But Musk was left dumbfounded after Hassabis said that AI might destroy his colonies on Mars.

  • Musk invested in DeepMind after that conversation with Hassabis, per The Times.

DeepMind cofounder Demis Hassabis scored an investment from Elon Musk after he pointed out the shortcomings in Musk's plans to colonize Mars.

Musk told Hassabis that he'd hoped humanity could avoid the threats from living on Earth by colonizing Mars, per a story by The New York Times published on Sunday.

According to The Times, Musk was chatting with Hassabis after giving the latter a tour of the SpaceX headquarters in 2012.

Hassabis told Musk that the plan would work if artificial intelligence didn't make the trip to Mars. According to Hassabis, AI being in the mix would lead to the human colony's destruction, too.

Musk invested in Hassabis' AI company soon after — along with Peter Thiel — so he could find out more about the tech, per The Times. Google acquired DeepMind in 2014 for $500 million.

Musk has since become a vocal critic of the dangers posed by AI. In March, Musk told a Tesla shareholder during the company's investor day that he was "a little worried about AI stuff."

"I think it's something we should be concerned about. We should need some kind of regulatory authority or something, overseeing AI development and making sure it's operating within the public interest," Musk said then.

Musk also has his own AI startup, xAI, which he announced in July. In November, Musk unveiled xAI's new chatbot, Grok, framed as a competitor to OpenAI's ChatGPT.

According to the xAI website, the company aims to advance humanity's "collective understanding of the universe."

Representatives for Musk and DeepMind did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.

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