Elon Musk vs Jack Ma: How the tech billionaires are doubtful yet hopeful about AI

Elon Musk vs Jack Ma: How the tech billionaires are doubtful yet hopeful about AI

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What happens when you organise a debate between two tech billionaires who have widely varying views on Artificial Intelligence? Well, for starters, you get viral content, along with a good idea about what the tech giants think AI would hold for the future of humanity. Elon Musk is well-known for his fear of AI overtaking humans and this was resonated in the debate with the Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma. While Ma believes in humans and thinks that we would use AI only to a certain extent to make sure we always have superior control.

Destructive vs constructive AI

Right off the bat, Elon Musk voiced his opinion on AI that it is generally underestimated by us humans. “They sort of think it’s (AI) a smart human but it’s really going to be much more than that. Much smarter than the smartest human,” Musk mused. “. So, the biggest mistake that I see artificial intelligence researchers making is assuming that they’re intelligent but they’re not, when compared to AI. A lot of them (researchers) cannot imagine something smarter than themselves, but AI will be vastly smarter,” he added.

While one might agree with Musk, Jack Ma says that he is not a tech guy and is “all about life.” Ma views AI as a new way for humans to understand themselves better as he says, “ I think AI is going to open a new chapter of the Society of the world that people try to understand ourselves better, rather than the outside world. I think if that lot of solutions we don’t have today but there will be solutions tomorrow. I’m quite optimistic and I don’t think artificial intelligence is a threat. I don’t think it is something terrible, but human beings are smart enough to learn that”

Given that most sci-fi shows and movies have a prominent display of AI or machines taking over the world, one might flock to Musk’s words. While it is true that tinkering with AI can be fragile and that one needs to take heed while making smarter AI-based systems, Jack Ma has a point that’s worth considering. If we look back on our history, we didn’t have many of the resources we have now and it is highly probable that in the future, we might come up with some answers as to how to control, regulate and partition or limit AI usage for our benefit.

AI affecting jobs

With AI developments happening at a rapid pace, there’s talk that software and automation would most likely take over most jobs that are currently being performed by Humans. There’s also a website where one can search their current role to get an estimation of whether it will be affected by AI or automation. Both Elon Musk and Jack Ma have differing views on the subject though.

As per Ma, people should work three days a week and four hours per day and with AI handling most of the heavy lifting, this could very well be possible in the near future. However, Musk is more concerned about developing the neural link solution, which is touted to dramatically increase the bandwidth at which us humans can absorb information. As per the Neuralink CEO, this would not only impact education but also jobs in the future.

While the bigwigs debated on some other topics too, AI was the key subject around which the whole debate revolved. As Musk still remains doubtful about AI and that there can be negative consequences if it is not regulated, Ma believes that us humans won’t let that happen since we exercise our need for control on all possible things. However, we guess that only time will tell who was right and how AI will evolve or shape our future.

Main image credits: New China TV

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