Tech

Passenger planes could have AI pilots: airline president

This is your AI-generated pilot speaking.

Tim Clark, president of the airline Emirates, believes artificial intelligence could replace real-life pilots in passenger airplanes — but not in his lifetime.

“You might see a one-pilot aircraft,” the 73-year-old told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on Tuesday, despite growing concerns about what AI is capable of achieving.

While Clark believes there would still be one human in the cockpit no matter how much AI advances, he is also urging people to “harness” and “use” the new technology, not “fear it.”

“Could the aircraft be flown on a fully automated basis? Yes, it could, technology is right up there now,” he claimed. “[But] there’ll always be somebody on the flight deck in my view.”


Passenger planes in the future might have AI pilots, says Emirates airline president Tim Clark
Tim Clark, president of UAE’s Emirates airline, said businesses should “harness” AI.
AFP via Getty Images

“A lot of people are concerned about what AI should and shouldn’t be doing … but if you’re in business and you’ve got something as powerful as this coming along and you’re very processes driven, manpower intensive, you’ve got to take time to look at what this could do to improve what you do,” Clark added.

The British executive’s remarks come as AI is rapidly advancing — and causing confusion and concern among the public and tech experts.

Google announced Wednesday it will add “markup” in the metadata of photos produced by its own AI models to show that the images are computer-generated.


This picture shows robots at the Arabian Travel Market exhibition in Dubai on May 2.
Robots are shown at the Arabian Travel Market exhibition in Dubai on May 2.
AFP via Getty Images

This news follows the release of viral deepfake images of Pope Francis wearing a surprisingly drippy white puffer jacket and former President Donald Trump resisting arrest.

A completely fake, AI-generated photo of Selena Gomez at the 2023 Met Gala became the most-liked photo on Twitter despite the “Look At Her Now” singer never stepping foot on this year’s carpet.

People are using AI to recreate the uniquely identifiable voices of real-life singers and actors to reimagine songs and scenes from projects they have nothing to do with — or just make something entirely new.


Passenger planes in the future might have AI pilots, says Emirates airline president Tim Clark
However, Clark thinks there will always be one human pilot flying airplanes.
REUTERS

The AI-generated song “Heart on My Sleeve,” which featured simulated vocals by Drake and The Weeknd, racked up 15 million views on TikTok, 275,000 views on YouTube, and over 600,000 streams on Spotify before it was pulled from streaming services.

Meanwhile, 23-year-old Snapchat influencer Caryn Marjorie unveiled a sexy ChatGPT-powered AI doppelgänger of herself that prospective boyfriends can talk to — for $1 a minute.


Clark smiles during a roundtable on the sidelines of Arabian Travel Market in Dubai on May 2.
Clark smiles during a roundtable on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai on May 2.
AFP via Getty Images

The bot, known as the CarynAI, already has over 1,000 boyfriends and some 5,000 more on a waiting list ready to talk about their future plans — or even sex — with the computer-generated hottie.

And a recent study conducted by researchers at the Qualcomm Institute at the University of California San Diego found that ChatGPT-generated healthcare assistants could express more sympathy toward patients than humans can.

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