Elon Musk exclusively uses Twitter. He doesn’t have any other social accounts. But most of all, he hates Facebook and Instagram. However, his dislike for Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg didn’t start until 2018, when the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.
Related: Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach by The Guardian.
Elon Musk doesn’t like Mark Zuckerberg because he publicly criticized Elon for his interviews related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its threat. Mark said that Elon’s AI-related interviews are hysterical and irresponsible. According to him, there’s no threat to humanity by AI, which Elon Musk strongly disagrees with.
In 2018 a whistleblower said that Facebook sold millions of users’ data to a third-party data harvesting company named Cambridge Analytica. Those data contained all the private information of its users as well as their political and religious affiliation.
For 5 days, Mark Zuckerberg, who has absolute control over Facebook, didn’t say anything. Later he half-heartedly apologized, which only bolstered many like Elon Musk that Mark doesn’t care about its users’ privacy, and they will do anything to profit off of their users.
The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office filed a lawsuit over this data harvesting abuse, and Facebook was found guilty and paid a $643,000 fine.
Because of this Cambridge Analytica controversy, Elon Musk deactivated his Facebook and Instagram accounts. He also asked Tesla and SpaceX to do the same. So, they did.
Learn More: How did Elon Musk become a US citizen?
When the news broke out that both SpaceX and Tesla deleted their Facebook accounts, Elon Musk replied to a news article, “It’s not a political statement, and I didn’t do this because someone dared me to do it. Just don’t like Facebook. Facebook gives me the willies. Sorry.” Here Elon Musk refutes that he and his companies deleted Facebook because his fans urged him to do it.
Elon Musk’s Tesla is actively working to solve Full Self Driving (FSD) software for their vehicle. Over the years, the progress has been fascinating. Moreover, a few years ago, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would develop humanoid robots.
According to him, Tesla now realized that to solve FSD, they have to solve generalized real-world AI (Artificial Intelligence). Thus, Elon Musk loves to talk about AI and its future.
Related: Why is Elon Musk making robots?
According to Elon, AI can be used in good and bad ways. But if there’s no regulation by the government, private companies could develop potentially harmful AI. Therefore, he asks the government to start passing laws so that AI development doesn’t become dangerous for humanity.
However, many academics and other AI communities don’t agree with Elon. According to them, Elon doesn’t know what he is talking about. Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook) and Jerome Pesenti, the VP of AI of Facebook, are among them.
In July 2017, during Mark Zuckerberg’s live question and answer session, Mark blasted Elon Musk by saying that his comments on AI are fear-mongering and irresponsible (source).
In response to this criticism, Elon Musk replied on Twitter, “I’ve talked to Mark about this. His understanding of the subject is limited.“
However, this isn’t the first time Mark Zuckerberg criticized Elon Musk over AI. For over a decade, Elon Musk has been consistently raising the alarm about the potential danger of Artificial Intelligence and the need for government regulations.
In 2016, Mark Zuckerberg criticized Elon in an interview with Axel Springer. There he said that Elon Musk is hysterical about AI. And his fear-mongering will impede AI development (source).
In response to Zuckerberg’s interview and criticism, Elon replied to a Twitter post, “Zuck doesn’t (yet) have a deep tech understanding of AI. I spend hours every week being educated by the world’s best researchers.“
Jerome Pesenti, the VP of AI of Facebook, also publicly criticized Elon Musk, “I believe a lot of people in the AI community would be ok saying it publicly. Elon Musk has no idea what he is talking about when he talks about AI.” Elon replied by saying that Facebook is a terrible product.
Thus it’s clear that Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg don’t go along and their understanding of AI is entirely different. Not only Zuckerberg but also Facebook’s executives have publicly criticized Elon. It’s why Elon Musk doesn’t like Mark.
However, Elon Musk has a point.
A product can be used in both good and bad ways. However, some people will try to exploit the technology for their benefit. Facebook is the prime example.
Even though, since 2016, Mark Zuckerberg criticized Elon Musk on AI, Facebook’s 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal shows that they disregard people’s safety and privacy and will do whatever is necessary to make money. When even Facebook used its algorithm in nefarious ways, how can AI be developed and be assumed that no one will misuse it?
Each year scammers and hackers exploit millions of people’s computers and electronics and steal billions of dollars. Computer viruses and malware also harm electronics. So, it’s possible that there will be some group who will exploit AI to hurt other people and steal people’s money. It could also become dangerous for human lives. Therefore, Elon Musk has a point. Because of the public dispute between them, Elon hates Mark Zuckerberg.
This is not the first time Elon publicly bashed someone. Previously he said that Jeff Bezos’s understanding of rockets is very limited. It also proved to be somewhat true.
Read More: Why can’t Elon Musk speak fluently?
Blue Origin, the rocket company founded by Jeff Bezos, was established 2 years earlier than SpaceX. However, in the last 20 years, Blue Origin failed to reach orbit. Their progress is very disappointing and doesn’t have any orbital-class rockets. However, at the same time, SpaceX developed and launched orbital-class Falcon 1, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, Crew Dragon, and thousands of satellites. Moreover, SpaceX is creating the Starlink system — a satellite internet constellation. And currently, Super Heavy and Starship are in development.
Therefore, when he talked about how Jeff Bezos’s understanding of rockets is minimal, it’s pretty accurate. Similarly, when he said that Mark Zuckerberg’s understanding of AI is limited, it also could be correct.
In summary, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg’s fallout started over the dispute about AI and its potential danger. Elon believes AI would become dangerous if not appropriately regulated. In contrast, Mark Zuckerberg believes that AI doesn’t need to be regulated, and it will not become dangerous because AI companies will self-regulate themselves.
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