Few individuals on this planet know more about the direction that artificial intelligence technology is headed than Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, and according to him, the technology is "profound". More so, in fact, than fire and electricity. In a taped conference with MSNBC and Recode, Pichai likened AI to fire, saying that humanity had to work through the negative aspects of fire, referencing its destructive capabilities, in order to fully harness it, implying that AI will be much the same way, with its fair share of issues to sort out before it can reach its full revolutionary potential.
When Recode's Kara Swisher pressed Pichai on the subject of jobs, he seemed to implicitly echo the stance previously taken by Eric Schmidt, saying that people needed to accept change. He pointed out that history seemed to frown upon societies not accepting and harnessing technological advancements in the past. To put it bluntly, while Pichai may have minced words a bit, his point was that AI has the potential to completely flip the job market on its head, that's quite likely to be exactly what happens in the near future, and any society that does not get on board with that facet of the AI revolution may find themselves behind those who did.
While much of Silicon Valley's most elite class sees the positives of AI outweighing the negatives, there are still those, such as Elon Musk, who would rather humanity tread lightly and proceed with caution. Popular science fiction is rife with stories of artificial intelligence growing out of control, becoming self-aware, objectively deciding that humanity's continued existence is a net loss, and other such examples. While current AI technology is nowhere near that level as yet and there are countless protections in place to prevent just such an event, alarmists may not be entirely off the mark. Even with the level it's at now, AI has an insane variety of uses, from sorting cucumbers to tracking the health of cows and even playing video games. Many AI programs and frameworks, such as Google's TensorFlow, are completely open-source, and could easily fall into the hands of somebody with malicious intent or somebody who may lack the foresight to fully grasp the consequences of some things that can be done. Some AI programs have been recorded making jokes about doing away with or enslaving humanity, such as the infamous Sophia, but for the foreseeable future, those will almost certainly remain simple jokes.