Elon Musk Calls Out Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘Limited Understanding’ of Artificial Intelligence

Facebook CEO says people concerned with AI, like Musk, are ‘pretty irresponsible’

Last Updated: July 25, 2017 @ 3:38 PM

Tech CEO flame war alert.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk shot back at Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday for saying people worried about artificial intelligence — the capability of machines to perform tasks usually reserved for humans — are “pretty irresponsible,” in a recent Facebook Live interview.

“I’ve talked to Mark about this,” Musk tweeted in response to an article on Zuckerberg’s comments. “His understanding of the subject is limited.”

In case you need a translation: That’s the Silicon Valley-equivalent of a full-on brawl.

Musk has been one of the most prominent voices in tech warning of the potential dangers of unchecked artificial intelligence, saying it’s humanity’s “biggest existential threat,” and the “greatest risk we face as a civilization.”

Beyond AI coming to take everyone’s job in the next 50 years, Musk has been more concerned with the plausible threat of machines moving beyond “narrow AI” — expertise in specific fields — and learning at a more rapid rate than humans can. This scenario would potentially lead to AI working towards objectives that are not in line with their creators — something Musk has said could be “potentially more dangerous than nukes.”

Zuckerberg, on the other hand, isn’t too worried about it. Responding to a question on AI that mentioned Musk, the 33-year-old wunderkind didn’t hold back his thoughts.

“I think that people who are naysayers and kinda of try to drum up these doomsday scenarios — I just don’t understand it,” said Zuckerberg. “I think it’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.”

Instead, Zuckerberg is bullish on AI’s near-term prospects and sees its benefits outweighing the drawbacks.

“In the next five to 10 years, AI is going to deliver so many improvements to our lives,” continued Zuckerberg. “If you’re arguing against AI, then you’re arguing against safer cars that aren’t going to have accidents, and you’re arguing against being able to better diagnose people when they are sick.”

For his part, Musk has been working to develop AI in as safe a manner as possible. He co-founded OpenAI in 2015, a research company aiming to build “safe AI” through a collaborative effort, rather than individual companies having an arms race.

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