“Overblown” Worries that A.I. Will Make Humans Obsolete

(p. B3) SAN FRANCISCO — Apple has hired Google’s chief of search and artificial intelligence, John Giannandrea, a major coup in its bid to catch up to the artificial intelligence technology of its rivals.
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Mr. Giannandrea, a 53-year-old native of Scotland known to colleagues as J.G., helped lead the push to integrate A.I. throughout Google’s products, including internet search, Gmail and its own digital assistant, Google Assistant.
He joined Google in 2010 when it purchased Metaweb, a start-up where he served as chief technology officer. Metaweb was building what it described as a “database of the world’s knowledge,” which Google eventually rolled into its search engine to deliver direct answers to users’ queries. (Try googling “How old is Steph Curry?”) During Mr. Giannandrea’s tenure, A.I. research became increasingly important inside Google, with its primary A.I. lab, Google Brain, moving into a space beside the chief executive, Sundar Pichai.
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On the debate over whether humanity should be worried about the rapidly accelerating improvements in A.I., Mr. Giannandrea told MIT Technology Review in an interview last year that the concerns were overblown.
“What I object to is this assumption that we will leap to some kind of superintelligent system that will then make humans obsolete,” he said. “I understand why people are concerned about it but I think it’s gotten way too much airtime. I just see no technological basis as to why this is imminent at all.”

For the full story, see:
JACK NICAS and CADE METZ. “Lagging Rivals in A.I., Apple Adds A Top Google Executive to Its Team.” The New York Times (Wednesday, April 4, 2018): B3.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date APRIL 3, 2018, and has the title “Apple Hires Google’s A.I. Chief.”)

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