Delighted children and adults watch the performance of a robot at the 2017 China Beijing International High-Tech Expo on June 8.
The war between tech titans has begun. Some are worried about what artificial intelligence (AI) will mean for humanity, calling for slowing down the process of building it, while others are pretty optimistic.
For years, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has been famous for his skeptical attitude towards AI and suggested it could be dangerous to the future of the human race.
Earlier this month, he warned a group of governors at the conference of the National Governors Association that AI is a "fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization."
"Transport will be one of the first to go fully autonomous. But when I say everything -- the robots will be able to do everything better than us. ... I mean all of us," Musk told the National Governors Association on July 15.P "I have exposure to the very cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it," Musk said. He urged the governors to initiate proactive regulation regarding AI technology.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took exception. During the past weekend, while smoking meats and doing a Facebook Live feed from his backyard in Palo Alto, California, Zuckerberg blasted Musk-style warnings against AI as "pretty irresponsible" and "really negative."
Zuckerberg said he is optimistic about AI, and opposed the spread of fear surrounding its potential.
"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," Zuckerberg responded in a Live feed recorded on July 23.
He praised Facebook's AI Research team and researchers at Cornell and Tsinghua, China. "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 feeds to delivering you more relevant search results. Every time we improve our AI methods, all of these systems get better. I'm excited about all the progress here and its potential to make the world better."
"In the next five to 10 years, AI is going to deliver so many improvements in the quality of our lives," Zuckerberg predicted.
On Tuesday, in a tweet, Musk shot back.
"I've talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited," he said.