It was, at times, an enthralling intellectual battle of billionaires. He said future education systems need to help people become more creative. Is that good or bad? In other words, this makes the all-in cost of electric vehicles that much more accessible to people in California, and around the world eventually.
"The power of electricity is that we make people more time so that you can go to karaoke or dancing party in the evening".
Their chat, which was livestreamed, was part of the opening events for the annual World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai. Assuming AI is fine, assuming there's a benevolent AI, the biggest problem the world will face in 20 years is a population collapse.
The showdown was the spotlight of the convention, which kicked off on a wet Thursday within the shadow of a U.S.
But the duo avoided all mention of those issues, instead chatting for over half an hour about their vision of how technology, especially artificial intelligence, will shape the future.
While insisting that he is "not a tech guy", the e-commerce mogul added: "I think AI can help us understand humans better".
Whilst they were on-topic in the video above, the same can not really be said for this exchange.
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The talk at occasions turned heated, particularly when Ma questioned his opponent's perception that AI might sometime prevail over the human race. "We invented the computer- I've never seen a computer invent a human being".
Musk, who has founded a string of tech ventures including SpaceX, Boring Company and Neuralink aside from his role as co-founder and CEO of Tesla, said he had heard that "AI sounds like love in Chinese" but in a more cautious tone described AI as "much more than just a smart human".
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.
The vast majority of people underestimate the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) and its possible effects on the future of humanity, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at a government-led conference in Shanghai on Thursday. "I don´t think it's a threat".
The statement appears to be a 180-degree turn for Ma, who declared 72-hour work weeks "a huge blessing" in April.
Interestingly, both Ma and his company Alibaba, have promoted such a schedule - referred to as 996 since employees work from 9 am to 9 pm six days per week - and have recently drawn backlash from workers for failing to compensate the intense workload with overtime pay.
Bloomberg's Edwin Chan, Bruce Einhorn and Ville Heiskanen contributed.