Musk said: "We are seeing the most disruptive force in history here. There will come a point where no job is needed - you can have a job if you want one for personal satisfaction but AI will do everything.
"It's both good and bad - one of the challenges in the future will be how do we find meaning in life."
This contrasts prime minister Rishi Sunak’s previous assertion that AI at work should be considered a ‘co-pilot’ rather than a risk to jobs.
In a speech on 26 October, Sunak said: “It’s important to recognise AI doesn’t just automate and take people’s jobs. A better way to think about it is as a co-pilot.”
Manny Athwal, founder of the School of Coding, disagreed with Musk’s comments, saying AI will create even more jobs.
Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “AI has many applications, including in fields such as medicine, finance, education, and transportation. Some examples of AI technologies include virtual assistants, self-driving cars, image and speech recognition systems, and recommendation engines.
“AI will continue to drive massive innovation that will fuel many existing industries and could have the potential to create many new sectors for growth, ultimately leading to the creation of more jobs. It could become one of the single most influential human innovations in history.”
As jobs are changed and created by AI, employers and workers should focus on upskilling in order to remain agile according to Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA at Skillsoft.
A study from Randstad said only 13% of employees have been offered AI training in the last year, despite 33% already using it day to day at work.
She said: “It is unlikely that AI will replace human work altogether any time soon. However, what is clear is that the transformations brought by AI will demand entirely new skill sets.
“With that in mind, businesses must prioritise investments in AI training and upskilling programs. This proactive approach ensures that employees can ethically and effectively leverage AI tools.
“The jobs of tomorrow may look very different to those of today. Fostering workplace cultures that champion continuous learning and skills development is crucial to adapting to the evolving work landscape."
Read more: Cover story: AI risks and hazards
Chris Pedder, chief data officer at Obrizum, said although he is sceptical that human work will end altogether, the threat of widespread job loss is real.
Goldman Sachs estimates 300 million jobs could be lost or diminished by this fast-growing technology.
Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “If human labour becomes largely unnecessary, it could profoundly reshape society.
“To navigate this transition, regulation and policy are crucial. Worker protections must be strengthened, including guaranteed income schemes that provide stability amid volatility. Civic institutions that provide community and identity beyond jobs will likely grow more vital.
“If labour declines in economic importance, a vision for fulfilling lives beyond jobs is essential. Rather than fatalism about mass unemployment, the prudent path is cautious optimism paired with proactive policies to smooth workforce transitions.”