Bill Gates Reassures America That Artificial Intelligence Is Nothing To ‘Panic’ About

L: (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) R: (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

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Eric Lieberman Managing Editor
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Microsoft founder Bill Gates disputed Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s contention that artificial intelligence (AI) will eventually become very dangerous in a WSJ. Magazine interview published Monday.

“The so-called control problem that Elon is worried about isn’t something that people should feel is imminent,” Gates said when asked if his fellow tech entrepreneur’s concerns were warranted. “This is a case where Elon and I disagree. We shouldn’t panic about it.”

Musk, who heads a nonprofit research firm called OpenAI, said earlier in July that government bureaucrats must craft regulations for AI before robots begin killing people in the streets. He and 115 other tech leaders collectively announced in August that they sent a letter to the United Nations asking it to ban “killer robots,” formally known as lethal autonomous weapons.

“If you’re not concerned about AI safety, you should be. Vastly more risk than North Korea,” Musk wrote in a tweet that featured what appears to be a public service announcement reading “In The End The Machines Will Win.”

He also asserted that people need to eventually add an extra digital layer of intelligence to their brains so humans don’t become “house cats” to AI. Musk essentially argues that as AI gradually advances, humans will be left behind and struggle to keep pace.

Musk’s reservations towards the technological concept — which is generally the development of computer systems with the ability to perform functions that typically require human intellect — could even be interpreted as fear-mongering.

Such outspoken contentions seemed to cause Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to speak out, calling the fears over the advent of AI “pretty irresponsible.

“I think you can build things and the world gets better. With AI especially, I am really optimistic,” Zuckerberg said, according to Axios. “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.”

A Google executive later expressed similar sentiments to Zuckerberg, describing the arousal of fear as “unwarranted and irresponsible.” However, not before Musk hit back against Zuckerberg by saying that his fellow bigwig has a “limited understanding of artificial intelligence.”

Gates, Zuckerberg and other tech leaders argue, though, that there are careful considerations that need to be addressed as the nascent technology expands in the near future. (RELATED: Bill Gates: Advanced Terrorism Could Exterminate 30 Million People In Less Than A Year)

After saying “we shouldn’t panic about” AI, Gates added in respect to the question of it whether it’s an “existential threat to humanity” that we also shouldn’t “blithely ignore the fact that eventually that problem could emerge.”

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