Artificial Intelligence, or AI, can be a source of growth – contrary to opinions it could cost millions their jobs – and will be as important to the future of knowledge as the invention of the printing press was, Microsoft President Brad Smith told NDTV on Wednesday as global business leaders met in Delhi ahead of the G20 Summit next month.
Mr Smith also spoke on the potential dangers of AI and the future of generative tools like ChatGPT, explaining they while they will certainly revolutionise the world they do also need a strong system of checks and balances to ensure AI “remains under human control”.
“I think AI is a tool that can help people think smarter and find answers more quickly (but) we shouldn’t stop thinking. AI can make us more productive and more successful, it can help us translate from one language to another… I think it can be a source of more growth and creation of jobs,” the Microsoft boss told NDTV.
On the future of generative tools like ChatGPT – a language model-based chatbot developed by OpenAI and launched in November last year – Mr Smith said, “… the future of what we call generative AI is, in some ways, just getting started. It can make doctors more effective at diagnosing diseases and help find new drugs to cure diseases.”
“It can be used as tutors for students and for parents to work with their children… more than anything else, I think AI is will be as important to the future of knowledge as the printing press was when it was invented (nearly 600 years ago).”
The goal, also, the Microsoft leader stressed, is to ensure AI does not ever pose a danger.
“We must ensure AI always remains under human control and the best time to put in place safety checks and systems to guard (against dangers of AI) is now. We need companies to develop AI in a responsible manner… the focus must be on new laws and regulations, and this has to be an international effort, yes, and within each country too,” he said.
India, Mr Smith, said will play a critical role in this regard.
“AI is not magic… it is not an independent source of knowledge and it not sentient. It is math. I think there may be a distant future when that is different but that too is a reason to focus on the ‘now’ and ensure this technology serves humanity and remains under human control.”
Mr Smith also spoke to NDTV on remarkable strides taken by India in digitalisation at various levels and in various sectors, including the now-ubiquitous digital payments systems.
“I think there is no country, that I have seen, that has advanced so far and so quickly (as India), especially since this decade began. And from our perspective at Microsoft, what we see is not only what digital systems are doing for public infrastructure in India but what it can do for the world,” he explained, “And it can do even more now that we are bringing AI to it.”
The Microsoft President concluded by stressing on the importance of India to his company, explaining, it means a “huge amount” as it remains a source of top engineering talent, great innovations and products.