DeepMind co-founder chides Elon over UK AI summit comments: ‘He’s not an AI scientist’

Mustafa Suleyman, the CEO of Inflection AI and co-founder of Google’s DeepMind, had some strong words for Elon Musk during a post-event interview with the BBC after the recent United Kingdom artificial intelligence (AI) summit concluded on Nov. 2.

As Cointelegraph reported, Musk leaned in to his penchant for sensational commentary during an interview with U.K. prime minister Rishi Sunak at the close of the two day event.

During the conversation, Musk remarked that AI was like “a magic genie,” before warning “usually those stories don’t end well.”

The sometimes richest man in the world also warned that AI would eventually do virtually every job, something he apparently believes will cause humans to struggle to find purpose for their lives.

Musk also discussed the existential dangers that he believes AI presents, including the necessity to include a “physical off switch” for AI systems so that we can control the machines.

Sunak for his part, agreed with Musk’s intimation that Hollywood stories concerning AI, such as The Terminator, appeared to be foundation points for the basis of both men’s views on the technology. “All these movies with the same plot fundamentally all end with the person turning it off,” quipped Sunak.

Related: NIST establishes AI Safety Institute Consortium in response to Biden executive order

It’s unclear what technology the two men were referring to. Most AI systems created in the past decade would ostensibly be resistant to attempts at “turning it off” via a single physical switch due to the nature of distributed and cloud computing and server technologies.

Suleyman, who was also in attendance at the U.K. AI Summit, later dismissed Musk’s commentary as pedestrian during an interview with the BBC’s Question Time.

Per the interview, Suleyman asserted that:

“This is why we need an impartial, independent assessment of the trajectory of this technology. [Elon Musk is] not an AI scientist. He owns a small AI company. He has many other companies. His expertise is more in space and cars.”

Suleyman isn’t the first AI expert or CEO to question Musk’s grasp on AI at the scientific level. In 2022 NYU computer science professor and best-selling author Gary Marcus and Vivek Wadha, a distinguished fellow at both Carnegie Mellon and Harvard, challenged Musk’s assertion that “AGI,” artificial general intelligence, would be realized by 2029.

The two experts offered Musk a wager in the amount of $500,000 which would pay off if AGI was realized before the 2029 deadline. To the best of our knowledge, Musk has yet to acknowledge or respond to the proposed wager.

AGI is a nebulous concept with no agreed-upon benchmarks or measurement standards for achieving. The basic premise of the idea is that, one day, due to currently unknowable technological follow-on effects, AI technology will become capable of performing any task requiring intelligence.

While some so-called experts believe that AGI, or at least sentient AI, may already exist, many other experts working in the field assert that current systems aren’t as intelligent or capable as humans or other animals due to their reliance on training, programming, procedure, and guardrails.

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