The Battle of Wits Between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg

The Hottest Imbroglio on AI Today : Zuckerberg’s Reassurance, Musk’s got a bone to pick

Uzair Khan

Uzair Khan

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In the light of what is being quoted as the most ‘Nerdiest’ battle royale, Zuckerberg and Musk were observed disagreeing on artificial Intelligence publicly.

On a Facebook live session, Zuckerberg volleyed a series of rants against people dissing AI, subtly alluding to Musk.

His exact words being:

I have pretty strong opinions on this. I am optimistic. I think you can build things and the world gets better. But with AI especially, I am really optimistic. 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.

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

But people who are arguing for slowing down the process of building AI, I just find that really questionable. I have a hard time wrapping my head around that.

Musk had a pretty sharp comeback for Zuckerberg’s comments. He commented that Zuckerberg’s understanding of artificial intelligence was limited.

Elon Musk's Tweet for Zuckerberg


Their tiff has yet again mooted the argument of whether or not AI is a threat to humanity. Picking a side right now would be like making a snap judgement about this topic.

Here is a little understanding to why the debate between the two is futile:


Everything from your smartphone, online shopping, movie recommendations, car, bank, and your house uses artificial intelligence each day; In fact, Statista studies show that by 2025, the revenues from AI market worldwide is expected to worth approximately $59.7 billion. Artificial Intelligence is something that has already entered many industries and is working perfectly for human betterment.

According to Gartner, towards the end of 2018, 20% of the business content that is based on data and analytics will be created by machines.

Also by 2020, a whopping 85% of customer interactions will be supervised without a human.(Source)

With Tesla’s new autopilot feature, self-driving cars are no longer a figment of the imagination.

Google’s ongoing project on self-driving cars is much more advanced than Tesla, they are working on an algorithm that could let cars to learn driving through experience and make the decisions just by looking at the road.

Facebook uses AI on daily basis to manage their website. Features such as face recognition, textual analysis, targeted advertising etc.

AI has embedded itself in our lives so well that it has become unimaginable to even think of a world without it anymore. It is an undeniable fact that the coming years will see only rise in artificial intelligence technology.

AI And Humans



Just like there are two sides of every coin, it would be ignorant of us to not consider its downsides. Some of the big names from science and technology industry such as Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates etc. have expressed their concern about potential risks regarding AI. The risks of loss of employment, misuse of this technology and the ethical arguments of AI not having any morals etc. are prevalent. However, nothing has been proven as of now, just theories and predictions.


The ability of AI to uplift mankind can not be overseen. Having said that, it is important to understand that a careful planning must be done to keep a check on the ethical and legal issues related to artificial intelligence in order to prevent the so-called ‘unintended consequences’. Only a thorough research and sound study of AI can counter these possible shortcomings and help establish a balanced approach to it.

What is your take on this? Feel free to opine in the comment section. Have a nice day!


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