Elon Musk
At Elon Musk's 44th birthday, Larry Page and Musk reportedly got into an arguement about the threat intelligent machines posed to humanity. Wikimedia Commons

A divergence in views on artificial intelligence (AI) between Google co-founder Larry Page and Twitter owner Elon Musk reportedly led to the end of their friendship.

At Musk's 44th birthday celebration in 2015, Page called Musk a "specieist". Furthermore, Page accused the Tesla CEO of preferring humans over future digital life forms, according to a report by The New York Times.

Musk's then-wife, Talulah Riley, had reportedly arranged the 3-day celebration at a Napa Valley-based resort. As per the report, Page and Musk had been arguing about the threat intelligent machines posed to humanity that night.

The two tech moguls, who had been friends for over a decade by the time of the party, reportedly started off the night exchanging jokes. Unfortunately, the duo started having a heated conversation about AI.

AI discussion between Elon Musk, Larry Page turned into an argument

In the presence of several other party attendees, Page decided to shed light on his version of a digital utopia, wherein he believed humans and intelligent machines would eventually merge together. He went on to suggest this one-of-a-kind fusion will trigger a competition between different types of intelligence.

Musk, on the other hand, believed machines would destroy humanity and society would be doomed. Musk's biographer Walter Isaacson also mentioned the fight in his recent biography of the billionaire, but he dated it to 2013.

As per Isaacson's retelling, Musk said to Page at the time, "Well, yes, I am pro-human, I f***** like humanity, dude". It is worth noting that this wasn't the only time Musk and Page clashed over AI.

Page was the chief executive of Google when the American tech behemoth acquired AI lab DeepMind in 2014. Ahead of the deal, Musk urged DeepMind's founder Demis Hassabis to turn down the offer, according to Isaacson.

"The future of AI should not be controlled by Larry," Musk told Hassabis, according to Isaacson's book. Musk later played a vital role in launching OpenAI as a nonprofit research lab that focuses on ensuring AI tools are designed to benefit humanity.

However, he left the OpenAI board in 2018 after failing to take over. Musk launched a new AI company called xAI with the goal to "understand the true nature of the universe". Earlier this year, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman admitted that Musk's departure was tough on OpenAI.

OpenAI's board also had its own disagreements as far as AI risks are concerned. In fact, an earlier report suggests the company's board removed Altman from his CEO role to stop him from releasing a human-threatening AI model called Q*.