AI Dominance: Tech Giants Invest Billions as Society Grapples with Impending Disruption
April 18, 2023
GUI (Graphical User Interface) concept.
The race for dominance in artificial intelligence is intensifying as major tech giants invest heavily in an area that is set to have a significant impact on all products across all companies. This sentiment was expressed by Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google (GOOG, GOOGL), who responded by quickly releasing the company’s chatbot, Bard, in March after Microsoft (MSFT) invested billions of dollars in OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT (overnight reports also suggested that Samsung may turn to AI-powered Bing). The AI industry is not limited to chatbots, and there have been calls for a pause on many AI tools until new safety standards for the technology are in place, such as regulations for the economy, laws to punish abuse, and international treaties to ensure the safety of artificial intelligence for the world.
The question of whether society is prepared for what’s coming remains unanswered. “On one hand, I feel like we are not prepared because there seems to be a mismatch between the pace at which we can think and adapt as societal institutions and the pace at which technology is evolving,” Pichai told CBS’s 60 Minutes. “On the other hand, compared to any other technology, I’ve seen more people worried about it earlier in its life cycle… and worried about the implications.” According to Pichai, knowledge workers could face the greatest disruption from future AI technologies, and professions such as writers, accountants, architects, and even software engineers could be affected.
Undoubtedly, companies are on the verge of a major breakthrough in terms of artificial intelligence, but it is equally important to distinguish hype from reality when discussing any emerging technology (recall the hype around Web 3.0?). There has been much discussion about the sentience of chatbots and the creation of a new humanity, as well as the potential loss of privacy and personal liberty or the rapid demise of entire industries. Additionally, numerous AI startups are seeking to capitalize on the news cycle to secure valuable funding sources and to benefit from public sector investment in terms of defense and national security.