Billionaire: AI could put workers 'out to pasture'

In the not-too-distant future, humans in the workplace could go the way of the horse-and-buggy because of the "exponential growth of artificial intelligence," billionaire Jeff Greene said Thursday.

"When we first had the internal combustion engine — the horseless carriages, the car was called — look at all the horses they just put out to pasture," he said, making an ominous comparison to the present-day advances in automation. "We are going to be destroying jobs at a record clip."

"The way software, computers, robots are taking over … what's going to happen more and more is the American worker is going to be marginalized," Greene told CNBC's "Squawk Box" in an interview.

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"Artificial intelligence (AI), right now, can do the task of a 100 IQ person," Greene said. Assuming a yearly increase of 1.5 percent in the capabilities of AI, he argued, "Ten years from now … artificial intelligence will do the tasks of a 120 IQ person."

As a result, the 60-year-old Florida real estate mogul said the American economy "could be heading off a cliff," because both Republicans and Democrats are trying to use traditional solutions to "nontraditional problems."

"The current model is not working. We have to figure out how to reinvent the economy," urged Greene, who's hosting in Palm Beach an early December conference of major investors and political figures, in hopes of talking about those new solutions.

Greene, who became a billionaire by shorting the housing market during the financial crisis, has since tripled his wealth by investing in real estate and the markets.

As for stocks, he told CNBC, "I'm not super bullish, but I'm not super bearish," against the backdrop of a possible Federal Reserve interest rate increase next month.

"I think interest rates are going to go up very modestly," he predicted. "[But] there's no way the Fed is going to jack up rates in any crazy way." A rate hike by the Fed would be the first such more in nine years.

But with a shallow path higher for rates, Greene said, "Stocks still in general will do well. [Though] I'd be surprised if you see a 5 percent or 10 percent swing in either direction over the next 12 months."

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