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Oscar Williams

News editor

Elon Musk says Mark Zuckerberg has a “limited understanding” of AI

Elon Musk’s war of words with Mark Zuckerberg intensified today after he accused the Facebook founder of possessing a limited understanding of AI.

It comes after Zuckerberg slammed the Tesla chief for what he said were irresponsible remarks about the existential threat posed by the tech.

Responding to a question about Musk’s warnings, Zuckerberg said in a Facebook broadcast on Sunday: “With AI especially, I’m really optimistic.

“I think that people who are naysayers and kind of try to drum up these doomsday scenarios — I just, I don’t understand it. I think it’s really negative and in some ways I actually think it is pretty irresponsible.”

This morning, Musk tweeted a blistering response. “I’ve talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.”

Musk’s rebuke is likely to reignite the row over the scale of the threat AI poses to humanity. He recently called on the US government to urgently regulate the sector.

“By the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late,” the Silicon Valley visionary told the US National Governors Association earlier this month.

Both billionaires have a vested interest in AI. Facebook is reliant on the technology for services such as facial recognition. Tesla, meanwhile, is at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development.

The risks associated with AI are gaining traction across Westminster. The House of Lords earlier this summer formed a select committee focusing on the economic, social and ethical implications of the tech.

The committee’s chair Tim Clement-Jones told NS Tech last week that AI is one the defining issues of the age. “It’s time that parliamentarians got to grips with it,” he said.

One of the issues coming under the committee’s spotlight is the rise of tech giants such as Facebook. Its call for evidence asks: “How can the data-based monopolies of some large corporations, and the ‘winner-takes-all’ economics associated with them, be addressed?”