Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk Are Both Wrong About AI

In one corner: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. In the other: Tesla’s Elon Musk. Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Paul Marotta/Getty Images and Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images. If Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk went to the same elementary school, I can practically imagine them firing “Your algorithm is so slow …” insults back and forth on the playground. Instead, as grown-up tech emperors, they barb each other on webcasts and on Twitter. Earlier this week, Zuckerberg was on Facebook Live while grilling meat and saying things like “Arkansas is great,” because he is not at all running for political office. He went on to criticize artificial intelligence “naysayers” who drum up “doomsday scenarios” as “really negative, and in some ways … pretty irresponsible.” Elon Musk has been the foremost e-vangelist for the A.I. apocalypse. At a symposium in 2014, he called A.I. our “biggest existential threat.” He genuinely believes that A.I. will be able to recursively improve itself until it views humans as obsolete. Earlier this month, he told a gathering of U.S. governors, “I keep sounding the alarm bell, but until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react, because it seems so ethereal.”…


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