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Is Google CEO Sundar Pichai surprised by AI? He says ‘Yes and no’


Google CEO Sundar Pichai talked about the growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the past 10 months and said that he is surprised by the speed of adoption of the technology. Talking about the pace of things in terms of evolution and adoption of AI technology, he said that he is surprised “for sure” he was by the adoption but Google has has been preparing for this for a long time.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during the Stanford Business, Government and Society Forum at Stanford University.(AFP)

Sundar Pichai’s ‘Yes and no’ answer

To this he replied, “Yes and no”, asserting that one of the things that he has done since taking up the top post in the company is working on AI that will “serve us well for the next decade ahead.”

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He said, “We have definitely been thinking about this for a long time and we’ve always had a deep sense of it. Having said that, maybe the pace at which society would adopt it has positively surprised as well as the scale at which the people are engaging with the technology — be it consumers, companies and increasingly governments. I think that has been a positive surprise.”

What positively surprises Sundar Pichai about AI?

Sundar Pichai also noted that this “positive surprise” is in the context of the specific timing of it and said, “But we’ve always had a sense of trajectory ahead and in many ways, we have been preparing the company for that. So foundationally, a lot of R&D has gone into AI for a long time so I feel incredibly well-positioned of what’s coming.”

Highlighting that AI is in a very early stage of development, he said, “I think people will be surprised at the level of progress we are going to see. And I feel like we scratched the tip of the iceberg.”

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