TECH

AI and electric cars will 'eat' the world's energy, says Elon Musk


There will be a lack of electricity in the world in 2025, thanks to the voracious advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) and electric vehicles (EVs). This is what warns billionaire Elon Musk, owner of – look, what a thing – one of the most famous EV manufacturers in the world (Tesla) and a major investor in AI.

For those in a hurry:

  • Elon Musk predicts global electricity shortages in 2025 due to rising demand driven by the advancement of AI and electric vehicles. At an event, the billionaire highlighted the urgent need to focus on clean energy generation;
  • The rapid advancement of AI and the popularity of electric vehicles are generating an unprecedented race for electrical chips and transformers. For Musk, this demand is “bigger than any gold rush that has ever existed”;
  • Musk highlights that the current shortage of neural chips will turn into a shortage of electrical transformers and, eventually, a critical shortage of electricity to support the voracious growth of AI and the adoption of electric vehicles;
  • Musk also reflected on the exponential growth of AI, suggesting that this unprecedented rise may face physical limits. And he expressed his view that living in times of radical technological transformation is preferable, even if it involves significant challenges for humanity.

“I have never seen any technology advance as quickly as this [IA]”, said Musk during a question and answer session, via video call, at the Bosch Connected World conference. He also spoke about autonomous cars, future directions for Tesla and humanoid robots on the occasion.

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Dark future in Elon Musk's mind

(Image: photossince/Shutterstock)

As pointed out by the website New Atlas, the main message given by Musk at the event was for the industry: start working on generating clean energy and manufacture electrical transformers – as many as you can.

I truly think we are on the cusp of the greatest technological revolution there has ever been.

Elon Musk, during the Bosch Connected World conference

The advancement of AI – mainly in the generative field (ChatGPT, Gemini, Copilot) – has generated a race for chips, a crucial component in the infrastructure that supports this technology. For Musk, this race is “bigger than any gold rush that has ever existed”. In this race, Nvidia is comfortably in the lead.

Silhouette illustration of person with chip in place of brain to represent artificial intelligence concept
(Image: Pedro Spadoni via DALL-E/Olhar Digital)

From the race for chips to electricity shortages there is a predictable leap, according to Musk. “A year ago, the shortage was in chips; neural network chips. So, it was very easy to predict that the next shortage would be of voltage reduction transformers. You need to feed these things energy. If you have 100-300 kilovolts coming out and you have to reduce everything to six volts, that’s a lot of reduction.”

Then, the billionaire talked a little more about transformers. “My not-so-funny joke is that you need transformers to run transformers. They [as empresas] they are running out of transformers to run transformers.”

Finally, the grim prediction came: “The next shortage will be electricity. Next year, [as empresas] will not be able to find enough electricity to run the chips. The simultaneous growth of electric cars and AI, both needing electricity, both needing voltage transformers… is creating tremendous demand for electrical equipment and electrical power generation.”

AI Augmentation at Scale

Computer and cybersecurity illustration
(Image: Pedro Spadoni via DALL-E/Olhar Digital)

Musk commented not only on the advancement of technology based on AI, but also on the scale of the increase in the whole thing. “The amount of artificial intelligence appearing seems to increase tenfold every six months. Obviously, this cannot continue at such a high rate forever or it will exceed the mass of the universe. But I’ve never seen anything like it.”

It didn't take long for Musk's speech to descend into hyperbolism. “There is supposedly a Chinese curse: 'May you live in interesting times.' Well, we live in the most interesting times possible. For a while it made me a little depressed, frankly. I thought, 'They [IA] Will they dominate? Will we be useless?' But the way I reconciled myself to this question was: Would I rather be alive to see the AI ​​apocalypse or not? I think I would like to see that. It won’t be boring.”



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