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Elon Musk, Zuckerberg trade barbs over artificial intelligence

(Bloomberg) -- It’s rare for Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to interact publicly with other moguls online. When he does, it’s usually friendly and choreographed, like the time he asked Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates for help on a Harvard University commencement speech.

But with Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and Space Exploration Technologies Corp., it hasn’t been as cordial. In a live video Q&A on Facebook Monday, Zuckerberg was asked what he thought about Musk’s calls for proactive regulation of artificial intelligence, before the robots become dangerously smarter than their creators and pose an existential threat to humanity.

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Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of Facebook Inc., watches a demonstration during the Oculus Connect 3 event in San Jose, California, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2016. Facebook Inc. is working on a new virtual reality product that is more advanced than its Samsung Gear VR, but doesn't require connection to a personal computer, like the Oculus Rift does. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

“People who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios, I just, I don’t understand it,” Zuckerberg said in the video. “It’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.”

Zuckerberg said he was optimistic about the technology, and that people shouldn’t call for a slowdown in progress with artificial intelligence.

Musk shot back on Twitter. “I’ve talked to Mark about this,” he wrote. “His understanding of the subject is limited.”

It’s not the first time the two have clashed publicly. Last year, a SpaceX rocket exploded on a launchpad in Florida. The rocket was carrying a satellite that was supposed to help Facebook spread internet connectivity in Africa. Zuckerberg, who was traveling in Africa at the time, wrote on Facebook that he was “deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite.”

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