Entrepreneurs

Mark Zuckerberg doubles down defending A.I. after Elon Musk says his understanding of it is ‘limited’

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook.
Source: Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook.

Two of the biggest tech titans in Silicon Valley have been publicly debating the potential of artificial intelligence this week: Mark Zuckerberg is optimistic, while Elon Musk is fearful — and says that the CEO of Facebook doesn't understand the technology.

Late Tuesday night, Zuckerberg defended his positivity, for the second time this week, in a Facebook post.

"One reason I'm so optimistic about AI is that improvements in basic research improve systems across so many different fields — from diagnosing diseases to keep us healthy, to improving self-driving cars to keep us safe, and from showing you better content in News Feed to delivering you more relevant search results," Zuckerberg writes.

"Every time we improve our AI methods, all of these systems get better. I'm excited about all the progress here and it's potential to make the world better."

On Sunday, while grilling brisket in his backyard in Palo Alto, Calif., Zuckerberg went live on Facebook and responded to a slew of commenters' questions.

One, which Zuckerberg read out loud, said: "I watched a recent interview with Elon Musk and his largest fear for future was AI. What are your thoughts on AI and how it could affect the world?"

Earlier this month, Musk delivered a scary message while speaking to the National Governors Association: "I have exposure to the most cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned by it. AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization."

On Sunday, Zuckerberg was dismissive of such warnings. "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 says.

In response, on Tuesday, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Musk tweeted a rebuke: "I've talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited."

In the same week that Zuckerberg and Musk spar over the potential for artificial intelligence, another billionaire tech titan, Mark Cuban, says AI "scares the s--- out of me" and, at the same time, Cuban says that Canada and China are handily beating the U.S. in their pace of developing artificial intelligence.

On the heels of Musk's dig at Zuckerberg, his post Tuesday night also announced that the Facebook AI Research team and researchers at Cornell and Tsinghua together won an award for their recent paper on "Densely Connected Convolutional Networks."

See also:

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: Elon Musk's doomsday AI predictions are 'pretty irresponsible'

Elon Musk: 'Robots will be able to do everything better than us'

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates think it's 'crazy' to view job-stealing robots as bad