Larry Page Once Called Elon Musk a ‘Specieist’ Over Musk’s AI Concerns

Musk and Page had a fight about the threats of AI at Musk’s birthday party.
JOEL SAGET/AFP and Kimberly White/Getty Images

  • Larry Page and Elon Musk argued about AI at Musk’s 44th birthday party in 2015.
  • Page reportedly said humans would eventually merge with machines.
  • Musk said that machines would destroy humanity.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Google cofounder Larry Page disagree so severely about the dangers of AI it apparently ended their friendship. 

At Musk’s 44th birthday celebration in 2015, Page accused Musk of being a “specieist” who preferred humans over future digital life forms, according to The New York Times. Musk’s then-wife, British actress Talulah Riley, had arranged the three-day affair at a resort in Napa Valley.

The accusation was one of the final punches Page threw in the argument he and Musk had been having that night about the threat intelligent machines posed to humanity, The New York Times reported. 

The two tech execs had been friends for more than a decade by the time of the party and started off the night exchanging jokes. But the conversation eventually turned to AI and got heated.

As several other party attendees listened, Page outlined his version of a “digital utopia” in which humans would eventually merge with intelligent machines, giving rise to a competition between various forms of intelligence, according to The Times account. Musk’s take was that society would be doomed because machines would wipe out humanity. 

Musk’s biographer, Walter Isaacson, also wrote about the fight but dated it to 2013 in his recent biography of Musk. Isaacson wrote that Musk said to Page at the time, “Well, yes, I am pro-human, I fucking like humanity, dude.”

Musk’s birthday bash was not the only instance when the two clashed over AI. 

Page was CEO of Google when it acquired the AI lab DeepMind for more than $500 million in 2014. In the lead-up to the deal, though, Musk had approached DeepMind’s founder Demis Hassabis to convince him not to take the offer, according to Isaacson. “The future of AI should not be controlled by Larry,” Musk told Hassabis, according to Isaacson’s book.

Musk later helped to launch OpenAI as a nonprofit research lab dedicated to ensuring AI systems would benefit humanity. He eventually left OpenAI’s board in 2018 after a failed attempt to take over and has since launched his own AI startup called xAI to “understand the true nature of the universe.”

OpenAI’s board has had its own disagreements about the dangers artificial intelligence poses to humanity. Those tensions were one of the reasons OpenAI cofounder Sam Altman was briefly ousted from the company.

Previous post Israel says ground forces operating across Gaza Strip as offensive builds
Next post The Best Apps of 2023 According to Apple