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Elon Musk and Jack Ma agree: The biggest problem the world will face is population collapse

Date published: 2019-09-02
Originally published: Here. Excerpt below.


When it comes to the future of humanity, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Alibaba founder Jack Ma disagree on whether people should be scared by the potential of artificial intelligence. Ma is optimistic about AI, while Musk is more apocalyptic. But the two billionaire businessmen do agree on the biggest problem the world will face in the future: not enough people.
"Most people think we have too many people on the planet, but actually, this is an outdated view," Musk said while on stage with Ma at at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai on Wednesday. "Assuming there is a benevolent future with AI, I think the biggest problem the world will face in 20 years is population collapse."
"The biggest issue in 20 years will be population collapse. Not explosion. Collapse."
"I absolutely agree with that," Ma said. "The population problem is going to be facing huge challenge. 1.4 billion people in China sounds a lot, but I think next 20 years, we will see this thing will bring big trouble to China. And the speed of population decrease is going to speed up. You called it a 'collapse,'" he said to Musk. "I agree with you."
"Yeah, accelerating collapse," Musk said.
Fears of overpopulation due to immigration are short-sighted, according to Musk. "The common rebuttal is like, 'Well what about immigration?' I'm like, 'From where?'"
Musk and Ma may be aggressive with their time frame, but by 2070, the global fertility rate is expected to fall below the global replacement fertility rate that's the average number of children each woman needs to give birth to for the population to replace itself from one generation to the next according to a recent analysis of United Nations global population data from the Pew Research Center. The current global replacement rate is 2.1 births. The current global fertility rate is 2.5, but is expected to fall to 1.9 by 2100.
Fertility rates vary widely, but Africa is the only global region expected to have "strong population growth ...


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