Jack Ma told the AI conference that although a computer may be clever, a human being is much smarter. Wire photo.

Alibaba’s billionaire founder Jack Ma believes that human beings would still have the upper hand and dominate the machine in the future but Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk is not so optimistic, SHINE reported.

The two illustrious figures in the tech sector exchanged thoughts on topics from AI and future education to Mars missions, the report said.

Musk cited examples of the chess computer DeepBlue, Alpha Go and Alpha Zero when pressed by Ma to name objects or things made by human beings that were smarter than humans.

“(One of the) most important mistakes I see people making is assuming they’re smart,” the Tesla founder said during a joint session with Ma at the WAIC in Shanghai. He said it was pointless to play chess with a machine, which was like “fighting Zeus.”

“Computers are already much smarter than humans in so many dimensions,” he said, arguing that intellectual pursuits by humans were getting smaller and smaller and would one day be surpassed by the computers.

But Ma countered him by saying that a computer may be clever but a human being is much smarter, the report said.

“Clever is very academic and knowledge-driven while smart is experience-driven, and the computer, after all, was invented and created by a human being,” Ma said.

Humans created cars and it’s stupid to compete with a car to see which one runs faster, Ma said, adding that unlike some people who are very sad that computers are surpassing human chess players, he thinks “we should do things we’re good at” instead of competing and comparing ourselves to computers.

On the looming prospects of AI stealing human jobs and causing massive layoffs, Ma challenged the assumption that there would be a job shortage in the future.

The invention of electricity gave humans more spare time, so “you can go to a dance party in the evening,” argued Ma. Likewise, he believes more powerful AI will give humans “more time to enjoy being human beings.”

“I think people should work three days a week, four hours a day,” Ma said. “I don’t think we’ll need a lot of jobs at that time. The jobs we’ll need are to make people happier, help them experience life and enjoy being human beings.”

Meanwhile, AI will be needed for many jobs undesired by human workers, according to Ma. Especially as life science advances are set to push life expectancy over 100, intelligent robots will take up the laborious jobs of caring for the elderly.

Musk said over time AI will make jobs pointless. “Probably the last job that will remain will be writing AI software. Then eventually the AI will just write its own software.”

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