WORLD INTERNET CONFERENCE, WUZHEN, CHINA: Google CEO Sundar Pichai (pictured) predicted future economic growth will be fuelled in large part by advances in artificial intelligence (AI) as the world shifts from mobile first to AI first.
The mobile internet is driving the current wave of innovation and growth, he said: “But increasingly we’re going to drive the next wave with artificial intelligence. Historically, humans have had to adapt to computers, but we’re going through a phase where computers will increasingly adapt to people and do stuff for them.”
Speaking during a panel at the event, Pichai noted computing will be all around us: not just on mobile phones, but also cars, home, and offices ready to help humankind.
“Rather than use a keyboard or mouse or multi-touch, you can interact more naturally. You can use your voice, you can see with computer vision so interactions become more natural and seamless.”
He believes these changes will enable the digital economy to move to the next level and go beyond mobile: “This is why we’re very excited and working on AI.”
This is the latest effort by Pichai to preach the benefits of AI technology; it’s become a common theme of his at product launches and Google parent Alphabet’s financial announcements.
Pichai’s comments echo those of the bosses of Apple and Alibaba at the same event this week. Apple CEO Tim Cook stated AI could deliver breakthroughs which reshape people’s lives by amplifying human performance, creating opportunities and helping to lift people out of poverty. However, he warned the benefits must be open to all and “it’s up to all of us to ensure technology is infused with humanity.”
Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma broadly agreed, noting while AI and machine learning could “replace most production jobs”, people must band together to share technologies to ensure the benefits “are universal”.