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Parker, who co-founded the music file sharing site Napster and was Facebook’s first president, said he was much more worried by the state of the health-care system.
“As much as I love Elon, and he’s a great entrepreneur and a friend, his comic book vision of a future in which an artificial superintelligence takes over everything and enslaves the human race is probably not what we should be worrying about,” he told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble at the Milken Institute MENA Summit in Abu Dhabi.
Musk has in the past warned about the race between global powers to harness the potential of AI, going as far as to say it could result in a third world war. The U.S. is generally considered to be the front runner in the battle to dominate the technology, but China, the world’s second-largest economy, has its own ambitions to be a leader in the space.
In particular, Musk is critical of the unfettered development of superintelligence — a form of AI smarter than humans — and at one point said it could result in the creation of an “immortal dictator from which we can never escape.”
But Parker said the main concern for people — especially investors — should be the health sector.
“In the U.S., we pay 18 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) every year on health care. Now, we’re bearing a lot of the burden developing drugs for the rest of the world, and we have a really messed up quasi-private public health-care system. But that’s $3.5 trillion dollars a year, that’s a crazy amount of money.”
The tech entrepreneur was likely referring to U.S. health spending in 2017, which rose 3.9 percent from the previous year. The country spends significantly more on public health than other high-income economies.
Parker is also chairman of The Parker Foundation, an organization he set up with his wife, Alexandra, to fund and promote research into life sciences, public health and civic engagement.
He said although he sees “big problems” in the health industry, such problems in turn present “huge opportunities.”
“By 2080, if you can believe it, projections show the U.S. spending 50 percent of all GDP on health care, medication, taking care of the population,” Parker said.
He added: “If we’re going to be spending 50 percent of GDP (on health care) … I want to be the person selling as an investor, I want to be the person that’s benefiting from that spending.”