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microsoft In a taped interview with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, CEO Satya Nadella said his biggest fear about artificial intelligence was to “maximize the opportunities and reduce the risks” of the technology. “The whole society” has to come together, he said.
“We definitely want the benefits of this technology and we want to mitigate any unintended consequences,” Nadella said in an interview aired on Tuesday. “The required leadership and the required unity of all stakeholders will be difficult, but it must be achieved.”
Since the release of OpenAI’s viral chatbot ChatGPT late last year, and since the emerging generative AI technology has exploded into the public consciousness, legislators, thought leaders, and developers have wondered how the technology will work. I have been worrying about whether to regulate it.
The tech buzz has sparked a fierce AI arms race among tech giants, including: Google Microsoft is a long-time partner of OpenAI. But the rapid pace of development has raised concerns among lawmakers and industry leaders. Tesla CEO Elon Musk was one of more than 27,000 people who signed an open letter in March asking the AI lab to pause its development.
Nadella said AI development is progressing rapidly, but humans are still integral to the process.
“If anything, it’s definitely going fast, but I feel like we’re moving fast in the right direction,” he said. “Are humans in the loop or out of the loop? It’s a design choice, or at least that’s what we chose.”
While there is growing vigilance and resistance around AI, so too is the notion that the technology is disruptive and game-changing. Technology company executives and venture capitalists are calling the launch of ChatGPT appleiPhone owner and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates said in an interview in February that AI “will change our world.”
Nadella said every new disruptive technology could cause a “real demographic shift” in the job market. But Nadella said he believes AI will also create new jobs.
“I mean, there could be a billion developers. In fact, the world needs a billion developers,” he said. “So the idea is that this is really a democratizing tool to make it easier to access new technologies, easier access to new knowledge, and an easier learning curve.”
Nadella added that easier access to knowledge also has implications for education.
He said children will eventually have access to “AI tutors” who can break down information and remove “fear of learning.” Critical thinking will continue to be “very similar to what humans do,” he said, but there are opportunities to take advantage of new tools.
“Steve Jobs had a very beautiful saying: ‘Computers are like bicycles for the mind,'” Nadella said. “We’re doing an upgrade now. We’ve got a mental steam engine.”