Elon Musk is afraid of artificial intelligence, hopes for humans on Mars by 2026

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk introduces the Dragon V2 spaceship at the company's headquarters in Hawthorne.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk introduces the Dragon V2 spaceship at the company’s headquarters in Hawthorne.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Everyone's favorite eccentric entrepreneur, Elon Musk, made a stop on CNBC's "Closing Bell" Tuesday night and did not disappoint.

Musk, who runs electric car company Tesla Motors and rocket builder SpaceX, spoke at length on topics ranging from the human colonization of Mars to his fear of artificial intelligence (think: "The Terminator"). Monty Python came up too.

Let's start with space.

In May, Musk, the chief executive of Hawthorne-based SpaceX, revealed its new Dragon V2 capsule -- which Musk hopes will one day ferry NASA astronauts to the International Space Station -- and said he expects its first manned test flight by the end of 2016.

Now Musk is shooting for Mars by 2026.

"I'm hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years, I think it's certainly possible for that to occur," he said. "But the thing that really matters long term is to have a self-sustaining city on Mars. To make life multi-planetary."

"We'll either be a multi-planet species and out there among the stars or a single planet species until some eventual extinction event, either natural or man-made," he said.

When CNBC's Julia Boorstin asked Musk about his investment in an artificial-intelligence company called Vicarious, things got a bit odd.

Musk said he wasn't really looking for a return on his investment in the A.I. outfit. Rather, he simply wants to "keep an eye on what's going on with artificial intelligence," adding that he thinks "there is potentially a dangerous outcome there."

"There have been movies about this, you know, like 'Terminator,'" Musk said.

Boorstin followed up later in the conversation: "So you want to make sure that technology is used for good and not 'Terminator'-like evil?"

Musk: "Yeah. I mean, I don’t think — in the movie 'Terminator,' they didn't create A.I. to — they didn't expect, you know some sort of 'Terminator'-like outcome. It is sort of like the 'Monty Python' thing: Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. It’s just — you know, but you have to be careful."

Co-host Kelly Evans tried to lighten the mood by joking that humans can just escape to Mars when the artificial intelligence-fueled apocalypse comes.

"The A.I. will chase us there pretty quickly," Musk deadpanned.

Follow @jpanzar for breaking news.