Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella expressed his concerns about artificial intelligence. He highlighted that what scares him the most is the need for the entire society to collaborate in order to maximize the opportunities and mitigate the potential dangers associated with this technology.
Nadella emphasized the importance of balancing the benefits and risks of AI, stating in a Tuesday interview with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, “We want to reap the benefits of this technology while also mitigating unintended consequences. It is a challenging task that requires leadership and collaboration from all parties involved, but it is necessary.”
Since the release of OpenAI’s viral chatbot ChatGPT last year, lawmakers, thought leaders, and developers have been grappling with the question of how to regulate the rapidly emerging generative AI technology. Its widespread recognition has sparked discussions and debates regarding the need for appropriate regulations in this field.
Major tech companies such as Google and Microsoft, the latter of which has been a longtime partner of OpenAI, are engaged in a red-hot AI arms race as the buzz around the technology intensifies. However, the rapid pace of development has raised concerns among lawmakers and industry leaders like Tesla CEO Elon Musk. In March, Musk was one of over 27,000 individuals who signed an open letter calling for AI labs to temporarily halt their development efforts.
According to Nadella, although AI development is progressing rapidly, people still play a crucial role in the process. He stated, “I believe that it’s moving fast in the right direction. Humans are in the loop instead of being left out of it. It’s a design decision that we have made.”
As concerns and pushback towards AI have mounted, so has the notion that the technology has the potential to be both transformative and disruptive. Tech leaders and investors have likened the debut of ChatGPT to the introduction of Apple’s iPhone, and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates stated in a February interview that AI “will transform our world.”
Nadella acknowledged that when a new technology emerges, it can cause “real displacement” in the job market. However, he also expressed his belief that AI has the potential to create new jobs.
Nadella expressed his belief that AI will not only lead to job displacement but also create new job opportunities. He stated that the world needs more developers and that AI can be a democratizing tool, making new technology and knowledge more accessible and reducing the learning curve. Nadella added that there could be a billion developers in the world.
Nadella also mentioned that improved access to knowledge could transform education. He suggested that in the future, children may have access to an “AI tutor” that could simplify complex information and remove the “fear of learning.” He clarified that critical thinking would still be “largely a human activity,” but emphasized that there is a chance to leverage new technologies.
Nadella cited a quote from Steve Jobs, saying “computers are like the bicycles for the mind,” and went on to say that now there is an upgraded version – “a steam engine for the mind.”