Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Google’s owner Alphabet, believes that artificial intelligence (AI) will eventually have a bigger impact than fire, electricity, and the Internet. Historically, general purpose technologies have driven two major tipping points – from the hunter-gatherer era to the agrarian, and agrarian to industrial. Advancement of human development through transformative periods like this had two common drivers: the growth of knowledge and inventions that served as a platform for society. With that in mind, Mr. Pichai’s assessment when viewed through the lens of history could be spot on. Artificial intelligence combines both drivers in a way that prior platform technologies did not. AI is a general purpose technology that is increasingly woven into the fabric of society, and it could ultimately represent the pinnacle of knowledge attainment.
I expect it to play a foundation role pretty much across every aspect of our lives. The progress in artificial intelligence is still in early stages but I view it as the most profound technology humanity will ever work on and we need to make sure we harness it to societies benefit.”Sundar Pichai – Artificial Intelligence is more profound than fire, electricity, or the internet, says Google boss
That quote from this recent article captures his thinking, a perspective shared by many in the AI community. In a world as uncertain as ours, where events can advance possible futures or derail them, bold statements like this should be taken with a grain of salt. However, as a society, we should embrace one piece of that statement: we MUST make sure that we harness the invention of this era to societies benefit.
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