Elon Musk's 'Speciesist' Dispute With Larry Page Signals Larger Issues In AI Leadership, Say Gladstone Experts

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Jeremie Harris and Edouard Harris from Gladstone AI recently highlighted a major ethical dispute in AI development — a debate that has garnered much attention since Google’s Larry Page called Elon Musk “speciesist” last year for prioritizing human interests in AI advancements.

What Happened: In a conversation on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, the Harris brothers revealed deeper concerns about AI industry leaders’ motivations and ethical stances, emphasizing the deep divide on AI’s future role in human evolution.

Harris provided insights into the culture of AI development labs, describing a major influence of “transhumanism” — a belief in transcending human limits through technology.

“There is a thread of transhumanism at a lot of the frontier labs. It’s not tiny. It’s definitely a subset. And for some of those people, there’s almost a glee at the prospect of building AGI (artificial general intelligence) and all this stuff, almost as if it’s this evolutionary imperative,” he explained.

See also: Former OpenAI Board Members Call For Stricter AI Regulation To ‘Tame Market Forces:’ ‘For Humanity’s Sake’

Jeremie explains that everyone in AI does not hold this perspective but it is prevalent among a notable group of techies who view artificial general intelligence (AGI) as an inevitable and desirable evolution of humanity.

The conversation also touched on the concept of “speciesism,” a term used by Google co-founder to describe Musk over the direction of AI back in 2014. Musk’s resistance to the idea of AI superseding humanity contrasts with some in the tech community who, like Page, may view such a development as a natural progression.

“What happens when you supersede the whole spectrum of what a human can do? What am I going to do with myself? What’s my daughter going to do with herself? I don’t know,” Edouard reflected, highlighting the existential uncertainties that accompany the rapid development of AI technologies.

Musk And Page Have A Past

Musk and Page used to be friends earlier, however, it broke down when the two clashed over former chief scientist of OpenAI, Ilya Sutskever.

Musk recently recalled this incident on the Lex Fridman podcast, elaborating on his battle with Page with respect to recruiting Sutskever, who he thinks is the “linchpin to OpenAI being successful.”

With that said, Musk is open to rekindling his friendship with Page despite his disagreements with the Google co-founder.

“I would like to be friends again with Larry. I haven't seen him in ages. We were friends for a very long time," Musk said.

Why it matters: The Harris duo’s comments reveal a tension between visionary technological optimism and the need for a grounded, ethical approach to AI development.

This complex mix of ideas suggests that the challenge for the leaders of AI development is not just technical but deeply human, involving differing visions of what it means to advance as a species in harmony with our creations.

Read next: Netflix’s Ted Sarandos Dismisses AI Threat To Writers, Actors, Directors: ‘AI Is Not Going To Take Your Job’

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