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Elon Musk 'Exactly Wrong' on AI, Says Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt

Elon Musk recently warned that if not regulated or controlled soon, AI will become an "immortal dictator" and there will be no escape for humans.

Elon Musk is not a man who's short of opinions, but some of his opinions are less popular than others.

For instance, the Tesla, SpaceX and Boring Co. chief's thoughts on AI ,including, among other dark predictions, that it may spark World War III aren't necessarily shared by his fellow Silicon Valley CEOs.

I think Elon is exactly wrong" about artificial intelligence, Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt said Friday at the VivaTech conference in Paris. "He is concerned about the possible misuse of this technology and I am too," but Schmidt said he himself is more convinced by the "overwhelming benefit" of AI.

Schmidt went on to discuss all the ways AI will benefit humanity, in health, education and economic and social systems. AI will make people smarter, he said, and overwhelmingly this will be a "net gain."

It seems every major tech company is investing heavily in AI, making Musk one of the few Silicon Valley VIPs warning against its evolution. Even though the tech industry is examining the ethics of AI and making attempts to keep bias from creeping into algorithms, the general consensus, reflected by Schmidt's own feelings, is that broadly the technology is a force for good.

Schmidt's remarks came in response to a question by Maurice Levy, CEO of advertising company Publicis. On Thursday evening at the show, Levy also questioned Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about AI. Zuckerberg's response was markedly more measured.

I've heard Elon making a lot of the same points ... I've been making for a long time," he said, sympathising with the difficult task Musk is tackling in trying to train self-driving cars to avoid traffic accidents. But Zuckerberg also expressed optimism regarding AI.

We need to make sure that we don't get too negative on this stuff," he said. "It's too easy for people to point to one failure in technology and use that to slow down progress ... Fundamentally, I think AI is going to unlock so much good."

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