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Impact of AI on mankind will be greater than the changes brought by electricity and fire: Google CEO Pichai

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai is so optimistic about the possible mega impact of artificial intelligence on our lives so much so that he has gone on record to state that it would be even greater than the changes brought about by the discovery of fire and electricity.

Pichai while told MSNBC that AI is perhaps “one of the most profound things” occupying the thinking process of mankind in the 21st century. He said AI will become basic utilities in the next few years due to its importance.

Pichai said artificial intelligence is “one of the most important things that humanity is working on”.

“In fact it is more profound than, I don’t know – electricity or fire,” he said, adding that since man harnessed the power of fire for the benefit of humanity there is also the downside to it. The top official at Google also said that AI could be deployed in solving climate change issues. “It could also be a tool to cure cancer,” he said.

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Pichai made the remarks after being asked about the threat posed by AI to jobs as the technology could put many people out of work. The chief executive of Google said that people has the right to be concerned with technologies, whether we like it or not, always come along with a disruptive change to the status quo.

The channel host went on to list out instances of AI taking jobs away from mankind.

“The future looks smart and shiny when we talked about AI but what about jobs? What if we come to a stage when you may no longer need a lawyer or even an accountant. Some people will obviously be happy while many will go hungry. Can you see the picture?

To this, Pichai said he also shared the same concerns like others who are in the field of AI. However, he stressed that mankind still needs to embrace technological advances whether we like it or not.

“If you look at history, countries that pull back on technology don’t do well. So the best way to move forward is to embrace the change,” he said.

The full interview of Pichai will air on MSNBC next Friday (January 26).

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