Elon Musk revealed that Google co-founder Larry Page is no longer a “close friend” of his — and accused the reclusive search tycoon of aspiring to become a “digital god” as he shrugged off dire threats that artificial intelligence poses to humanity.
In an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Monday, Musk said his estrangement from Page, the tech billionaire who co-founded Google alongside Sergey Brin, led him to help start OpenAI, the Silicon Valley unicorn which recently rolled out the AI-powered bot ChatGPT.
The CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and Twitter said he co-founded OpenAI in order to make it “the furthest thing from Google” by making it “like a non-profit that is fully open because Google was closed, for-profit.”
“The reason Open AI exists at all is that Larry Page and I used to be close friends and I would stay at his house in Palo Alto and I would talk to him late in the night about AI safety,” Musk said. “At least my perception was that Larry was not taking AI safety seriously enough.”
According to Musk, Page instead “wanted sort of digital super-intelligence” in hopes of becoming “basically a digital god, if you will, as soon as possible.”
“So that’s why the ‘open’ in OpenAI refers to open source, transparency so people know what’s going on.”
According to Musk, he and Page clashed over ways to protect the human race so that it isn’t dominated by a super-intelligence AI.
“Then he called me a specist,” Musk told Carlson.
Specism is defined as intolerance or discrimination on the basis of species, which is often manifested by human cruelty toward animals.
“I wasn’t the only one there when he called me a specist,” Musk told Carlson.
“And so, I was like, ‘Okay, that’s it. Yes, I’m a specist, okay. You got me. What are you? Yeah, I’m fully a specist. Busted’.”
The Post has sought comment from Google.
Musk said Google has essentially cornered the market since it has “about three-quarters of all the AI talent in the world” in addition to “a tremendous amount of money and more computers than anyone else.”
Musk continued: “We’re in a uni-polar world here where there’s one company that has close to a monopoly on AI talent and computers, like scaled computing, and the person who’s in charge doesn’t seem to care about safety.”
Musk — who had long been known to couch surf at the homes of both Google co-founders — told Tucker Carlson of Fox News that he was also concerned about the rapid advancement of ChatGPT.
At the time of the Musk-Page falling out, Google had just acquired DeepMind, the UK-based AI research lab.
Musk said that Google’s approach to AI was that it had “great potential for good, but there’s also potential for bad.”
Musk co-founded OpenAI in 2015 alongside other tech captains of industry including LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Y Combinator founding partner Jessica Livingston, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and machine learning expert Ilya Sutskever.
Musk agreed with Carlson that it was “conceivable” that AI “could take control and reach a point where you couldn’t turn it off and it would be making decisions for people.”
“That’s definitely the way things are headed, for sure,” Musk told Carlson in an interview, part of which aired on Monday night.
While Musk is no longer close with Page, he appears to be on friendlier terms with Brin.
The two men were spotted together in a selfie photo last summer during a party at a Bay Area home — despite reports that Musk had an affair with Brin’s estranged wife Nicole Shanahan and that he begged for forgiveness from his fellow tech billionaire.
Musk has denied the report. An attorney for Shanahan denounced the report as “an outright lie” and “defamatory.”
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