Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that “Facebook sucks” after an argument over AI on Twitter.
Mr Musk made the comments to the company’s head of artificial intelligence Jerome Pesenti after Pesenti criticised Musk’s knowledge of artificial intelligence.
The comments came after a CNBC report that said multiple anonymous AI researchers said they saw Musk’s views on the technology as inappropriate.
Musk has previously warned that AI will become as intelligent as humans and could threaten humanity’s very existence, saying that “there’s a five to 10 percent chance of success [of making AI safe]”.
An AI executive speaking to CNBC, who asked to remain anonymous because their company may work for one of Musk’s businesses, said that “A large proportion of the community think he’s a negative distraction.”
“He is sensationalist, he veers wildly between openly worrying about the downside risk of the technology and then hyping the AGI (artificial general intelligence) agenda. Whilst his very real accomplishments are acknowledged, his loose remarks lead to the general public having an unrealistic understanding of the state of AI maturity.”
“AGI” stands for “artificial general intelligence,” which is the hypothetical benchmark whereby a machine can learn anything that a human being could. This is distinct from ‘standard’ artificial intelligence, which is when a machine is capable of carrying out a task like a human could, such as voice recognition in Siri or Alexa.
Another specialised focused on speech recognition said that Musk is “not always looked upon favourably,” while an AI researcher at a UK university said that they “instinctively fall on dislike, because he makes up such nonsense.”
“But then he delivers such extraordinary things. It always leaves me wondering, does he know what he’s doing? Is all the visionary stuff just a trick to get an innovative thing to market?” they continued.
On Twitter, Pesenti said that many people in the AI community would be happy to criticise Musk publicly, stating that Musk “has no idea what he is talking about when he talks about AI. There is no such thing as AGI and we are nowhere near matching human intelligence.”
In response, Musk simply tweeted “Facebook sucks”.
While Facebook team declined to give an official comment, Pesenti said that it was his “personal opinion” but that others at the company – including Yann LeCun, a professor at New York University and a Chief AI Scientist at Facebook and Edward Grefenstette, a Facebook AI Research Scientist – agreed.
LeCun quote-tweeted Musk’s disparaging comment, saying that Tesla’s engineers still needed access to Facebook’s PyTorch to develop their products. PyTorch is a free, open source machine learning library primarily developed by Facebok’s AI Research lab.
Recently, Musk made the controversial decision to announce that he would sell almost all of his personal possessions, including five California properties and knocked $14bn off the value of Tesla stock after tweeting that the price was “too high”.
The researchers, Tesla, and SpaceX were contacted by The Independent for comment. Facebook declined to comment.