Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk Spar Over Future of Artificial Intelligence

Image: A combination photograph showing Elon Musk, left and Mark Zuckerberg
A combination photograph showing Elon Musk, left and Mark Zuckerberg.Ringo H.W. Chiu, Eric Risberg / AP

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By Alyssa Newcomb

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are having a rare public social media slapdown over their differing views on the future impact of artificial intelligence.

The bickering billionaires lashed out at each other, with Zuckerberg calling Musk's doomsday scenario "irresponsible." Musk said the Facebook CEO has a "limited" understanding of the subject. Burn!

Elon Musk, left and Mark Zuckerberg.Ringo H.W. Chiu, Eric Risberg / AP

It all started on Sunday when Zuckerberg, who was conducting a Facebook Live session during a backyard barbecue, was asked what he thought about Musk's AI doomsday views.

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has a less than rosy view about the future of artificial intelligence and has warned that if left unchecked, AI could become humanity's "biggest existential threat."

"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 said.

"In the next five to 10 years, AI is going to deliver so many improvements in the quality of our lives," he added.

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The Facebook CEO is so excited about artificial intelligence that he even spent 2016 building his own person AI assistant, which he nicknamed Jarvis.

When asked about Zuckerberg's comment, Musk said the two had already discussed artificial intelligence.

"I've talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited," he said.

Musk is the co-founder of OpenAI, a non-profit AI research company focusing on "discovering and enacting the path to safe artificial general intelligence." He has previously said AI could become "potentially more dangerous than nukes."