Few rivalry between computer titans have been as long-lasting and widely publicized as the one between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg. In the most recent chapter of their protracted tale, they were sat at opposing ends of an abnormally long table during a closed-door Senate discussion on artificial intelligence at the “AI Insight Forum” on Capitol Hill.
The visual of Musk and Zuckerberg sat at opposite ends of the table was a representation of their fundamental disagreements. Some of the sharpest minds in the IT sector attended the conference, including Bill Gates of Microsoft and Sam Altman of OpenAI, who have also clashed with Elon Musk on occasion over the years.
The Musk-Zuckerberg feud dates back to 2016, when a SpaceX rocket explosion resulted in the destruction of Facebook’s first satellite. This incident marked the beginning of a strained relationship that only worsened when Zuckerberg launched Threads, a text-based social media platform, seen by many as a direct competitor to Musk’s platform, X (formerly known as Twitter).
The feud escalated to the point where both Musk and Zuckerberg contemplated settling their differences inside a cage. Musk initially challenged Zuckerberg to a cage fight in June, and Zuckerberg, surprisingly, accepted the challenge a day later. However, despite the initial enthusiasm, a date and location for their showdown have yet to be agreed upon.
Despite their highly publicized rivalry, the Senate meeting on artificial intelligence proceeded without any physical altercations. Elon Musk, upon leaving the meeting, even described it as a “very civilized discussion” among some of the world’s most brilliant minds, according to CNBC.
Representatives from Musk’s X and Zuckerberg’s Meta declined to comment on the meeting when contacted by Insider outside of regular business hours.
The settlement of the Musk-Zuckerberg dispute is anxiously awaited by the tech industry, but it is clear that both people are capable of putting aside their disagreements in order to handle important concerns like artificial intelligence. Even if they are seated at opposite ends of the table, IT leaders must collaborate to ensure the proper development and deployment of AI as it advances.