Today on Twitter, Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla CEO, dismissed Mark Zuckerberg‘s understanding of the threat posed by artificial intelligence (AI) as limited, after the Facebook founder disparaged comments Musk made on the subject earlier this month.
The beef (such as it was) goes back to a speech Musk made to an assembly of US governors. Musk warned that there needed to be regulation on AI development before it is too late. 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 further added that Al poses “a fundamental existential risk for human civilisation”, and wants the companies working on AI to slow down to ensure they don’t unintentionally create something dangerous.
However, some people do seem not to like those assessments.
So during a Facebook Live over the weekend, Mr Zuckerberg picked out a question that had been submitted to him by a viewer.
“I watched a recent interview with Elon Musk and his largest fear for the future was AI. What are your thoughts on AI and how it could affect the world?” it asks.
Mr Zuckerberg answers: “I have pretty strong opinions on this. I am optimistic. I think you can build things and the world gets better. But with AI especially, I am really 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.”
He continues: “In the next five to 10 years, AI is going to deliver so many improvements in the quality of our lives. One of the top causes of death for people is car accidents still and if you can eliminate that with AI, that is going to be just a dramatic improvement.
“Whenever I hear people saying AI is going to hurt people in the future, I think yeah, you know, technology can generally always be used for good and bad, and you need to be careful about how you build it and you need to be careful about what you build and how it is going to be used.
“But people who are arguing for slowing down the process of building AI, I just find that really questionable. I have a hard time wrapping my head around that.”
Mr Musk hit back on Twitter
I’ve talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 25, 2017
The likes of Facebook and Google are planning their futures around AI, but key industry figures have expressed fears about it.
According to Stephen Hawking, “The real risk with AI isn’t malice but competence. A super-intelligent AI will be extremely good at accomplishing its goals, and if those goals aren’t aligned with ours, we’re in trouble.”
Bill Gates, too, has said artificial intelligence is a cause for concern.“First, the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent,” he said in 2015.
“That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though, the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.”