In the red corner, he runs some of the world’s most successful technology companies, and he’s definitely not a robot… It’s Elon Musk!
And in the blue corner, he’s the father of social media, the man who stores all of your data (legally-ish), and who lets you post pictures of your food to the world… It’s Mark Zuckerberg!
One thinks the world is in danger of impending doom from artificial intelligence (AI). The other, well, doesn’t. Who’s right? There’s only one way to find out…
Yes, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg locked proverbial horns this week, as Musk took to Twitter to fire a short but pretty scathing shot at Zuckerberg.
The story goes back to last week when, at the US National Governors Association in Rhode Island, Musk warned about the future of AI.
“I have exposure to the very cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it,” he said. “I keep sounding the alarm bell, but until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react, because it seems so ethereal.”
He added: “AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.”
Then on July 23, Zuckerberg took to Facebook Live to answer questions from viewers. One person asked what his thoughts were on how AI could affect the world
“I have pretty strong opinions on this,” Zuckerberg responded. “I am optimistic. And I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios – I just, I don’t understand it. It’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.”
Not one to let someone else have the last word, Musk fired back. Responding to a tweet pointing out Zuckerberg’s comments on July 25, Musk responded: “I've talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.”
There’s been no response from the Facebook CEO yet, but it’s not the first time the two billionaires have gone head to head. In September 2016, a SpaceX rocket exploded during a routine ground test, destroying the AMOS-6 satellite that Facebook had planned to use to deliver Internet to Africa.
“I’m deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite,” Zuckerberg said at the time.
Will AI kill us all? Who knows. But at least we got to enjoy a good-old-fashioned battle of the billionaires.