SINGAPORE (Sept 2): Elon Musk and Jack Ma matched wits publicly for the first time. And boy, they did not disappoint. An onstage debate between China’s richest man and the Tesla boss left a largely Chinese audience both awestruck and dumbfounded as the pair sparred over everything from the existence of aliens to the preservation of human consciousness.

Musk, alternating between tech visionary and larger-than-life Bond villain, argued that artificial intelligence (AI) will soon surpass the human race, that civilisation may end and hence humankind needed to explore the cosmos (specifically Mars) and that people are essentially dumb creatures circumscribed by genes.

But Musk, who appeared discombobulated at times following a late trans-Pacific flight, met his match in a fellow billionaire who parried him at every turn. The Alibaba Group Holding co-founder espoused a focus on life on Earth and argued that machines will never surpass their makers. Ma, the more polished and down-to-earth speaker, also invoked familiar stances on education and the need for “Love-Q” or LQ in addition to IQ to survive the future.

To continue reading,

Sign in to access this Premium article.

Subscription entitlements:

Less than $9 per month
3 Simultaneous logins across all devices
Unlimited access to latest and premium articles
Bonus unlimited access to online articles and virtual newspaper on The Edge Malaysia (single login)

Stay updated with Singapore corporate news stories for FREE

Follow our Telegram | Facebook