Let's back up a moment. Just a few short years ago, Musk equated AI to some dark hellish ritual in which there is the potential for things to turn bad. Very bad.
Image Source: Flickr (Brian Solis)
"With artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. you know all those stories where there's the guy with the pentagram and the holy water and he's like... yeah, he's sure he can control the demon—it doesn't work out," Musk said while talking at MIT's Aeronautics and Astronautics Department's Centennial Symposium in 2014.
Part of Musk's concern is that AI is advancing faster than many people realize. It often gets likened to Skynet, though usually it's a tongue-in-cheek reference that gets brought up by media—we've made several non-serious mentions of Skynet ourselves. But as far as Musk is concerned, there is a real concern there.
"I don't think anyone realizes how quickly artificial intelligence is advancing. Particularly if [the machine] involved in recursive self-improvement...and its utility function is something that's detrimental to humanity, then it will have a very bad effect," Musk added.
Zuckerberg does not see things the same way. In a recent live video posted to Facebook in which Zuckerberg recorded his backyard barbecue, the topic of AI came up.
"I have pretty strong opinions on this ... I think you can build things and the world gets better, and with AI especially, I’m really optimistic. I think people who are naysayers and try to drum up these doomsday scenarios are—I just, I don't understand it. It's really negative and in some ways I think it is pretty irresponsible," Zuckerberg said.
Zuckerberg did not mention Musk by name, but it was a clear shot at his fellow tech head, and he did not take too kindly to it.
I've talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 25, 2017
On a side note, Musk also mentioned that a "movie on the subject is coming soon." There are plenty of movies featuring AI already, though it will be interesting to see what Musk is involved in, assuming his comment was not a joke.
Thumbnail Image Source: Flickr (Web Summit)