Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the world’s declining birth rate is “one of the biggest risks to civilisation”.
“There are not enough people,” Musk said. “I can’t emphasise this enough, there are not enough people.”
Musk’s views contradict the widely held view that Earth is overpopulated.
“So many people, including smart people, think that there are too many people in the world and think that the population is growing out of control,” Musk said.
“It’s completely the opposite. Please look at the numbers — if people don’t have more children, civilisation is going to crumble, mark my words.”
Musk, who has six children, said people should follow his lead.
“I’m trying to set a good example,” he said.
The billionaire made these claims while answering a question on his company’s Tesla Bot – a humanoid robot being designed to do “work that is boring, repetitive and dangerous”. It could lead to robots replacing human workers at companies.
Musk said the Tesla Bot could be used as a “substitute for human labour over time”, which will be necessary if the supply of human labour declines.
According to the World Bank, the world’s birth rate in 2019 halved compared to the birth rate in 1960.
Musk is developing the Tesla Bot after previously warning that humans can be overtaken by artificial intelligence (AI).
In 2017, he said there was a “five to 10% chance of success [of making AI safe]”, cautioning that companies working on AI could unintentionally build something dangerous.
In 2020, Musk said AI could become smarter than humans by 2025.
He said the Tesla Bot was “intended to be friendly and navigate through a world built for humans”.