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Elon Musk vs. Mark Zuckerberg: Tech Billionaires Argue Over Our AI Apocalypse

Elon Musk says Mark Zuckerberg's understanding of AI is "limited."

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

Elon Musk has responded to criticisms leveled at him by Mark Zuckerberg, with the pair of billionaires having now publicly called each other out over their differing perspectives on the burgeoning threat of artificial intelligence.

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has repeatedly gone on record to discuss AI’s threat to humanity. Earlier this month he said that AI would negatively impact our influence in the workplace, saying that “the robots will be able to do everything, bar nothing,” resulting in mass unemployment. In 2014 a private email sent from the tech entrepreneur discussed “the risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year time frame.” He added: “I am not alone in thinking we should be worried. The leading AI companies have taken great steps to ensure safety. They recognize the danger, but believe that they can shape and control the digital superintelligences and prevent bad ones from escaping into the Internet. That remains to be seen…”

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But Zuckerberg has suggested that Musk has been hyperbolic regarding our potential AI-influenced doomsday. In a Facebook Live Q&A with his followers, Zuckerberg was asked about his thoughts on the fears held by his peers regarding AI’s influence on society. “I have pretty strong opinions on this. I am optimistic,” he said. “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 continued.

“In the next five to 10 years, AI is going to deliver so many improvements in the quality of our lives.”

Musk has now chimed in on Zuckerberg’s comments using Twitter, calling the Facebook founder and CEO’s understanding of artificial intelligence “limited.”

When asked by a follower if he was planning on writing up his thoughts on the subject in order to address skeptics, he revealed that he would be discussing artificial intelligence in an upcoming movie.

Musk has sunk a lot of money into monitoring the growth of AI. Prior to Google buying DeepMind in 2014, Musk had invested heavily in the company just to keep tabs on it, with him explaining in a Vanity Fair article that it had improved exponentially. Troubled by his research into AI, Musk has spent the past few years trying to regulate the growth of the AI industry, and warning everyone who will listen about the dangers of becoming overly reliant upon robots.

Featured Image Credit: David Ramos / Getty Images & Scott Olson / Getty Images.