Michael Dell, the 15th richest person in the world, says you don't have to worry about AI
The big picture: Many people expect that an artificial intelligence capable of surpassing human capabilities will be created in the not-so-distant future. An artificial general intelligence (AGI) could spell doom for humanity, but billionaire Michael Dell thinks everything will eventually be resolved before the cyber-apocalypse.
Michael Dell doesn’t think AGI will be the end of the human race. The founder of one of the largest computer and technology companies in the world expects humanity will be able to counter the worst effects of artificial intelligence on society through action, as it has already done in the past with the hole in the ozone layer.
The CEO of Dell Technologies chatted with Toni Sacconaghi during a Bernstein Conference, talking about everything AI and the huge corporate investments in the new business. For as long as there’s been technology, Dell said, people have worried about “bad things” coming from it. Horrible things have been speculated for eons, he continued, but humans have shown the ability to worry first and then create effective counter actions to avoid the worst scenarios.
Dell mentioned the ozone layer depletion, a phenomenon observed since 1970s and caused by dangerous chemicals used in refrigerants, solvents, and propellants. The United Nations now says that the ozone layer is on track to recover within the next few decades, thanks to the global phaseout of ozone-depleting chemicals promoted by the Montreal Protocol.
AI will certainly have a significant impact on the technology business, Dell said, and the corporation bearing his name is already seeing a big “total addressable market” for growing hardware and services. He believes AI will provide new ways to extract value from accumulated data, while generative AI is a more complex phenomenon to deal with.
According to Dell, there are now two types of companies investing in AI: some organizations are thinking about the budget, while others are willing to throw everything they have at a promised 20-30% increase in productivity. “There’s definitely some hype in this area,” he said, because some CEOs are looking at the new AI explosion as a sort of “change or die” kind of moment.
While some organizations could have a speed advantage in quickly adopting generative AI, these things “do get normalized out,” said Dell. The entrepreneur has also noticed how AI is turning into a “generational change,” with the perception that any executive not chasing 15 to 30% productivity gains would be “derelict.”