Bill Gates. Via Getty Images

Gates, Other Tech Execs Optimistic About AI

In addition to being a tech industry polymath and one of the industry’s most wealthy and influential entrepreneurs, Elon Musk is also a famous –or infamous–  advocate for AI safety, having founded his OpenAI think tank in order to prevent what Musk sees as the primary existential risk to humanity: unconstrained superintelligent AI systems.

But while Musk’s predictions of a dark future of unbounded AI are logical –some may even say inevitable– and supported by leading AI researchers and theorists, others in the industry believe that Musk is an AI doomsdayer whose concerns of distant worst-case scenarios are unhelpful to the public dialogue on AI. Bill Gates and Microsoft’s leadership are firmly in the latter camp along with other leading tech personalities, according to CNBC:

“This is a case where Elon and I disagree,” says Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, speaking with the WSJ Magazine and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

“The so-called control problem that Elon is worried about isn’t something that people should feel is imminent,” says Gates, according to a transcript of the interview published by the WSJ Magazine Monday. “We shouldn’t panic about it.”

Gates is not the only tech thought leader to push back against Musk for his rhetoric.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is optimistic about a future where AI makes human life better. Zuckerberg calls Musk’s warnings of AI “pretty irresponsible.”

Similarly, John Giannandrea, the senior vice president of engineering at Google in charge of the tech giant’s AI efforts has also disapproved of the kind fear mongering Musk has been doing of late.

“I just object to the hype and the sort of sound bites that some people have been making,” says Giannandrea, speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt SF last week. “I am definitely not worried about the AI apocalypse.”

Nadella, the third CEO of Microsoft whose new book, “Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone,” is due out Tuesday, says that it is incumbent upon humans to be responsible for the machine systems they create.

Read More: Bill Gates disagrees with Elon Musk: We shouldn’t panic about A.I.