The CEO of Alphabet and Google, Sundar Pichai, thinks that artificial intelligence (AI) is just as important to human history as fire or electricity. He believes that AI is the most profound technology humanity is currently working on as it gets to the essence of what intelligence is and what humanity is. In a recent interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes, Pichai stated that it was important to ensure that AI models don’t only train with engineers. He explained that the role of other disciplines, such as social scientists, ethicists, and philosophers, is critical to developing robust AI models that are more human-like. Pichai added that society as a whole should answer questions about how to develop AI that is beneficial to all.
The recent surge in the competition in the field of artificial intelligence led by the likes of ChatGPT is prompting technology companies like Google to expedite the launch of their own products after years of research and development. Pichai has been making this comparison for the past five years, and he has compared the upside and downside of AI with the ancient discovery of fire. While AI has the potential to be far more capable than anything we have ever seen before, Pichai acknowledges that there are concerns to be addressed. He points out that, like fire, AI can be dangerous and has the potential to cause harm.
Pichai emphasizes that the development of AI should not be the responsibility of engineers alone but should also include social scientists, ethicists, philosophers, and other experts. He believes that society as a whole should answer questions about how to develop AI that is beneficial to all.