Elon Musk Stirs Up Drama with Meta's AI Chief on X Over Memorial Day

Tech giants engage in unusual online dialogue over weekend

by Zain ul Abedin
Elon Musk Stirs Up Drama with Meta's AI Chief on X Over Memorial Day
© Apu Gomes/Getty Images

Over Memorial Day weekend, a surprising online spat unfolded between two titans of technology, Elon Musk and Yann LeCun. Musk, the outspoken CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, took to the social media platform X to engage in a public exchange with Meta’s AI chief and Turing Award winner, Yann LeCun.

The discourse, which mixed technical banter with personal jibes, captivated onlookers and highlighted the ongoing rivalry among tech leaders. The contention began when Musk questioned LeCun's recent scientific contributions.

"What 'science' have you done in the past 5 years?" Musk provocatively inquired on X. In defense, LeCun promptly responded with a link to his extensive catalog of over 80 technical papers published since January 2022, showcasing his active involvement in AI research.

Unimpressed, Musk retorted, "That's nothing, you're going soft. Try harder!" This exchange set the tone for what became an engaging and entertainment-filled interaction. LeCun, who has been with Meta since December 2013 and also serves as a computer science professor at New York University, seemed to take the online banter in stride.

Despite Musk's critical tone, LeCun emphasized his role as a scientist rather than a business or product developer, indicating Musk's fundamental misunderstanding of his professional focus at Meta.

LeCun's Light-Hearted Retort

The interaction took an interesting turn when another X user, Alvin Wang, commented on the seemingly trivial nature of their discussion.

LeCun humorously noted that the dialogue occurred while he was on an eight-hour transatlantic flight with access to free wifi, making the exchange a welcome diversion. This is not the first time Musk has engaged in public disputes with other tech leaders.

His history includes challenging Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg to a cage match and filing a lawsuit against Sam Altman, his OpenAI co-founder. However, unlike Zuckerberg, who faced a physical challenge, LeCun suggested a more genteel competition, proposing a sailing race.

The incident between Musk and LeCun reflects the larger dynamic within the tech industry, where fierce competition often leads to public confrontations. As these leaders continue to shape the future of technology, their interactions—whether combative or cordial—remain a source of fascination and debate for the public and industry insiders alike.

Elon Musk