AI will impact everything and do some amazing things, says Google CEO

But humans are infinitely adaptable species and will effortlessly adapt to new technology.
Ameya Paleja
Google's new building at Mountain View, California
Google's new building at Mountain View, California


Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, expects artificial intelligence (AI) to impact every product across every company. Speaking to Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes, Pichai and other AI experts at Google shared their views on the technology that is "very profound" but still in its "early days".

Pelley visited Google's new campus in Mountain View, California, which is now powered by 40 percent solar energy and harvests more water than it uses. But the focus is on the AI race, where Microsoft-backed OpenAI has taken the lead, and Google seems to be lagging.

Pelley was introduced to a host of AI-powered tasks at Google, and people working behind the technology also shared their views on what's expected to happen next.

AI and the future

First among them was Google Bard, the AI chatbot that has taken a beating on the world stage but summarized the New Testament in 17 seconds while translating it in four. From six word prompt, it created a heart-wrenching story and then converted that into prose too.

The AI could leave Hemingway far behind as it churned out one masterpiece after another. James Manyika, Senior Vice President at Bard, expects job some occupations will decline over time while other job categories rise. Either way, most jobs will have their definitions changed as AI and automation will assist them.

Pichai expects products across companies to be impacted by AI and believes this profound technology will change everything. According to Pichai, knowledge workers such as writers, accountants, architects, and even software engineers would see disruptions.

AI will impact everything and do some amazing things, says Google CEO
The use of AI will impact every product in every company

But AI also has problems, such as hallucinations and the ability to spread disinformation rapidly. Pichai said that this was why, Google was intentionally slow in releasing its products to the public so that it could gather feedback about its technology and society would have time to adapt.

What makes the situation scarier is that AI developers do not entirely understand how the technology works. In tech terminology, it is called a "black box" where one does not know what makes the technology work. Some think AI is becoming more human-like because it tries to imitate humans.

Even as others debate that technology might lead humanity to its doom, Google is more optimistic and believes that AI needs to be introduced slowly so that civilization can get used to it.

Google's robots in the cafeteria can listen to voice commands and fetch someone an apple from a fruit basket while those on a soccer pitch teach themselves how to play the game.

Demis Hassabis, who created DeepMind, a company Google acquired nearly a decade ago, isn't very worried. Although AI could be programmed to improve itself and work nonstop toward this goal, humans are infinitely adaptable species. Just as we have adapted to smartphones and computing devices, we will also adapt to the presence of AI.

Manyika, whose responsibility also includes figuring out ways humans and AI coexist, thinks that new technologies like AI raise further questions for us as a species and our value systems.

Over a 10-year horizon, Pichai thinks that society will have some capable AI that will do amazing things, but the community needs to adapt to this. The criticism of the rollout of the technology will also put us on a path where we quickly set up regulations for AI and treaties among nations to make it safe. How to progress swiftly on this is for society to decide.

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