Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

At Yale CEO Event Honoring Steven Spielberg, Little Consensus On AI Future

Some 58 percent said they were not worried about the potential for AI to “destroy humanity” but 42 percent said they expected it might within 5 to 10 years.

As business and society try and adapt to the incredible leaps being made in artificial intelligence, CEOs, lawmakers, regulators and technologists are struggling to make sense of the best way forward. And that way forward is anything but clear right now.

At an online gathering of more than 250 leaders from across business, media, government, academia and entertainment to honor filmmaker Steven Spielberg and discuss AI and it’s opportunities and challenges, convened Monday by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, CEO of the Yale School of Management’s CEO Leadership Institute, there was little consensus on where we’re going with AI, and what to do about it.

While some 87 percent of the CEOs surveyed at the event disagreed with the notion that the potential opportunity for using AI was “overstated” there was a big split on whether or not the technology could have catastrophic implications, with 42 percent saying yes and 58 percent saying no. The same number—58 percent—said they were not worried about the potential for AI to “destroy humanity” but 42 percent said they expected it might within 5 to 10 years.

Among the high-ranking Washington leaders on the call, including Connecticut Democrat Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Rep. Ro Khanna, the California Democrat who represents Silicon Valley in the House, there was consensus that some form of regulation was needed, but little agreement—so far—on exactly what shape that would take.

Blumenthal once again called for the development of a “commission” modeled after the FDA that would impose some kind of “licensing regime” on AI, as well as “a kind of nutrition label so that people can distinguish between the faith and the true, and so that there is greater identification, watermark, if you will, on some of these products.”

“There’s a lot of government support for some kind of government regulation,” he said.

Others argued that while there was clearly a role for government to play here, lawmakers should also be concerned about reflexively over-regulating and locking in big tech’s Monopoly position with yet another generation of technology.

For now, “the big platform providers are forced to essentially have open access to allow startup companies to build on their models,” said AOL founder Steve Case.

“But historically, once the arms race ends and the winners are clear, they tend to back off and turn off the people that are working on their platforms. So, an open access provision, [is] hugely important, and unleashing innovation in the internet is one of the things that needs to be put in place as we think about the right policy for AI.”

More broadly, Roger McNamee, the longtime technology investor who, most famously, was an early investor in Facebook but later came to warn against the company’s practices and ethics, said businesses should guard against getting caught up in hype about generative AI.

His biggest concern was that the proper care would not be taken in the rollout of these technologies and we’d see the same kind of long-term missteps in their creation and adaptation that we’d seen in the past.

His take: The underlying unit economics of ChatGPT and other generative AI products were developed during a time of cheap capital, and, as interest rates rise, the costs of maintaining these systems at prices making them attractive to customers is requiring an unprecedented amount of hoopla to “convince you that this is inevitable.”

“There is an arms race going on and an attempt to get to Monopoly to get to a position where they have the same kind of control over all of you that Google has in search, and that Facebook has social media,” said McNamee.

Nonetheless, CEO after CEO, from Lazard’s Peter Orszag to Coca-Cola’s James Quincey to Panera’s Niren Chaudhary and many more offered example after example of how they were already using AI within their companies to improve customer experience, unleash creativity and explode productivity.

“In our case as it relates to generative AI and other technologies it is really an exciting time,” said WalMart’s Doug McMillon. “It feels like frequently that we’re only limited by our imaginations as it relates to what we can do.”

All of which sounded just fine to filmmaker Steven Spielberg, who was on the call to be honored with CELI’s Legend in Leadership Award—just as long as it didn’t interfere too deeply with creative work like writing, directing and acting. “As Vito Corleone said in the first Godfather movie, ‘as long as your business doesn’t interfere with mine.’”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


MORE LIKE THIS

  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events

    Roundtable

    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)

     

    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.