What happens when two public figures weigh in on a controversial issue? It’s thinking diversity writ large!
In July of 2017, Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, clashed on twitter over their differing views on the safety of Artificial Intelligence.
The viewpoints they expressed can be summarised as caution vs optimism. Both prominent businessmen are players in the AI field, with Tesla featuring autonomous driving and Facebook performing ever more complex algorithms to mine our data for advertisers. Zuckerberg has stated that he believes that developing AI will save lives and improve our quality of life. Musk has criticised Zuckerberg for not fully showing respect for the risks of accelerating AI research. Whilst advancements in AI could lead to fewer road deaths and improved medical outcomes in the near term, a super-advanced AI could eventually outstrip humanity’s ability to understand or control it.
Musk publicly chided Zuckerberg on twitter, saying his understanding of the subject was “limited.” This typifies Musk’s approach to subjects, as he has a deep knowledge of many areas of engineering which he has brought to bear in his technical leadership of his companies. Zuckerberg is more focused on the opportunities that exploiting AI could bring in a tangible timeframe, and this typifies his leadership of Facebook and it’s meteoric growth.
From what we know of the two men from their public personas and presentations they have given, we could hazard a guess that Musk is a Present-Past thinker, an archetype we call The Engineer. This thinking style is characterised by being driven to understand topics deeply and having a strong sense of the right way to do things. Zuckerberg has a more mercurial persona, and embodies a very ‘silicon valley’ way of thinking. The Visionary archetype seems to fit him well: someone who can see the potential in a great many things and has a knack for getting people to follow his cause.