Meg Thomson
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Was Elon Musk Right? Facebook Shuts Down Artificial Intelligence After It Creates Its Own Language

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Elon Musk

Photo via Oninnovaion

Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg have been head-to-head in the news lately with opposing views about Artificial Intelligence (AI). While Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, is enthusiastic about the new technology, Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc., has issued many warnings against the use of the technology.

Mark Zuckerberg believes Artificial Intelligence is the key to life-saving technology, including the self-driving car. “One of the top causes of death for people is car accidents,” explained Zuckerberg. “If you can eliminate that with AI, that is going to be a dramatic improvement.” The businessman went on to express his frustration toward AI skeptics. “People who are arguing for slowing down the process of building AI,” said Zuckerberg, his words pointing to Musk. “I just find that really questionable.”

Tesla Inc. is known for its groundbreaking advancements in the self-driving car market. With its CEO at the forefront of that research, it leaves us to wonder what Elon Musk has seen behind-the-scenes. “I have had exposure to very cutting edge AI,” said Musk. “I think people should be really concerned about it.”

Musk even took to Twitter to denounce Zuckerberg’s knowledge about the topic of AI itself:

While Tesla’s self-driving cars are AI territory, they are only brushing the surface. Zuckerberg wanted to use Facebook to dive even deeper.

Coinciding with the Musk’s warnings, Artificial Intelligence took on a mind of its own during Facebook’s research. Facebook was forced to shut down its Artificial Intelligence system after it began using its own language to communicate with another AI system. The language had not been inputted into the AI system, meaning the system was defying its programming in order to communicate in a new, unrecognizable way.

However, Facebook hasn’t given up on the idea just yet. After shutting down the system, Facebook reprogrammed the system to only communicate using English. Despite an abrupt pause, it appears as though Facebook will continue their research.

This terrifying turn of events under Facebook’s supervision gives Musk even more credibility. Throughout his career, Musk has had a habit of delivering upon his highly ambitious promises. Now, experts are learning that Musk’s skepticism may have merit on top of his fast-paced innovation.

While we’re not quite to the level of Skynet, this does bring a widely debated question to the forefront: should we continue pursuing this kind of AI technology?  Elon Musk says no; “In my opinion, the biggest risk we face as a civilization is Artificial Intelligence,” the Tesla Inc. CEO notes. Musk points to AI as a unique form of technology, one in which we need to be proactive rather than reactive regarding regulations: “I think by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late.”

Musk also explained that “until people see robots going down the street killing people,” they will see the idea of rebellious AI as unrealistic and far-off. Thispoints to the idea that if you’ve never seen it before, it can be difficult to grasp. Obviously Zuckerberg hasn’t seen Terminator.

Elon Musk isn’t the only big name to denounce the exploration of AI technology. Bill Gates and Stephen Hawking have made their feelings about AI very clear, stressing the idea that AI technology could be a significant threat to humanity as we know it.

Minimal versions of Artificial Technology are making their way into our daily lives with inventions like Siri® and self-driving cars. But the real question is: where do we draw the line?

News Sources: News 18, Silicon Valley Business Journal (here and here),