Sundar Pichai Says AI Is “More Profound than Fire or Electricity”

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told CBS’s 60 Minutes on April 16 that artificial intelligence is the most profound technology in human history, perhaps even more so than the invention of fire and electricity. However, Pichai admitted that he himself does not fully understand how AI works.

“We need to adapt as a society for it…This is going to impact every product across every company,” Pichai made the remark to CBS News correspondent Scott Pelley on recent advances in artificial intelligence.

This is the second in-depth interview with the Google CEO in as many weeks; he seems to be going on a public relations assault in the wake of negative coverage for the company’s latest artificial intelligence (AI) offering.

Bard, Google’s artificial intelligence chatbot, was released to the public not too long ago in an effort to compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s new Bing.

Pichai warned Google staff in an internal memo in March that the chatbot might fail during public testing if it learns too much about human behavior. He assured Pelley that Google plans to use AI for good, but he also hinted that the AI’s eventual development may be out of the hands of its inventor.

The results that Bard has shown thus far are both spectacular and puzzling. In a test seen on yesterday’s broadcast, Pelley tasked Bard with completing a six-word narrative commonly credited to Ernst Hemingway and Bard’s effort far beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

“I had a sense that I was meeting an intelligence that I had never conceived of and an intelligence I was sure I would never understand,” Pelley stated of Bard’s output.

The ‘hallucinations’ of Errant AI

However, when Pelley questioned Bard about inflation in another exam, Bard recommended five books that, as it turned out, did not exist. This kind of mistake is known as a hallucination in the field of artificial intelligence. No one in engineering can explain why they occur.

Sundar Pichai Says AI is More Profound Than Fire or Electricity
Sundar Pichai Says AI is More Profound Than Fire or Electricity

“There is an aspect of this which we call it a ‘black box,’” In the words of Pichai.“And you can’t quite tell why it said this, or why it got wrong. We have some ideas, and our ability to understand this gets better over time. But that’s where the state of the art is.”

Pichai said that it’s like how little researchers know about the human brain.“We don’t have all the answers there yet, and the technology is moving fast. Does that keep me up at night? Absolutely,” And he went on to say.

Late in March, Musk and other prominent figures in the tech industry published an open letter requesting a six-month moratorium on the creation of artificial intelligence systems more advanced than OpenAI’s recently released GPT-4.

“Powerful A.I. systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable,” the Future of Life Institute, a non-profit organization that receives some funding from Musk’s personal foundation, wrote in a letter.

Over 26,000 people have signed the open letter thus far. Pichai isn’t a cosigner, by the way.

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