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Rational Optimist: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Blasts Elon Musk-Style Fear-Mongering


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Sunday blasted Elon Musk-style warnings against artificial intelligence (AI) as “pretty irresponsible.”

Zuckerberg took various questions via a Facebook Live broadcast over the weekend that showed him in his Palo Alto backyard. While slow cooking a brisket, the CEO fielded a user’s question about the future of AI.

“I watched a recent interview with Elon Musk and his largest fear for future was AI,” the user inquired. “What are your thoughts on AI and how it could affect the world?”

Zuckerberg replied he is growing weary of the fear-mongering surrounding the futuristic technology.

“I have pretty strong opinions on this. I am optimistic,” Zuckerberg said. “And 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’s response comes shortly after Musk returned to his anti-artificial intelligence crusade earlier this month, telling the nation’s governors that AI needs to be regulated because it poses a “fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.”

“I have exposure to the very cutting edge AI, and I think people should be really concerned about it,” the Tesla CEO said at the the National Governors Association summer meeting. “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.”

Zuckerberg, however, has a much rosier vision of the future. In his Facebook Live session, Zuckerberg pointed out that AI will be responsible for such lifesaving services as diagnosing diseases and driving cars.

“One of the top causes of death for people is car accidents still and if you can eliminate that with AI, that is going to be just a dramatic improvement,” Zuckerberg noted.

While the CEO acknowledged the potential for danger, he still finds it difficult to support AI’s naysayers.

“Whenever I hear people saying AI is going to hurt people in the future, I think yeah, you know, technology can generally always be used for good and bad, and you need to be careful about how you build it and you need to be careful about what you build and how it is going to be used,” Zuckerberg said.

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