Eric Schmidt said Elon Musk's concerns over artificial intelligence (AI) are wrong. The comments were made as part of the VivaTech 2018 conference which is currently underway in Paris, France. While Schmidt might not have intended to call out Musk on the issue, the comments were made in response to a question posed to Schmidt on Musk’s previous comments on the potential threat of AI.
The exact phase Schmidt used was Musk is “exactly wrong” and padded this out by explaining how Musk does not understand the benefits AI has to offer. And not just at the individual level where Schmidt argues AI will make “every human” smarter, but also at the humanity level with Schmidt stating AI and machine learning are “so fundamentally good.” Arguing it helps people to live longer and in less pain, it makes every citizen smarter, and economic and social systems more fluid. In fact, in relation to anyone that is concerned about AI’s potential threat, Schmidt likened the creation and development of AI to that of the telephone (and the internet in earlier comments in the same interview), suggesting that it would have been wrong to not develop the telephone simply because it could have the potential for misuse by “evil people.” On this point, Schmidt made the case the concerns many have are more related to the policing of AI, than avoidance of its use in general.
When talking on this, however, Schmidt did acknowledge he does have some concerns about the misuse of AI, although the “overwhelming benefit” he sees from the technology outweighs those concerns. As for Musk, the CEO of SpaceX CEO has made it clear that he feels AI brings with it real concerns that need to be addressed, and has even called on those in power to look to regulate its use proactively and before the threat becomes a reality. For example, one of the possible causes of the next World War. While also taking aim at some of those in the industry who are leading the AI charge including Facebook’s own Mark Zuckerberg, suggesting the Facebook CEO’s understanding of AI “is limited.”