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Google CEO Sundar Pichai says AI is more profound than electricity and fire

How dangerous is fire or AI?

Google CEO Sundar Pichai onstage at Recode/MSNBC town hall
Google CEO Sundar Pichai
MSNBC / Kim White

Make no mistake about how seriously Google is taking artificial intelligence.

“AI is one of the most important things that humanity is working on. It’s more profound than, I don’t know, electricity or fire,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said on Friday as part of a new show hosted by MSNBC’s Ari Melber and Recode’s Kara Swisher.

“Fire’s pretty good,” Swisher said.

“But it kills people, too. They learn to harness fire for the benefits of humanity, but we have to overcome its downsides, too,” he said.

Pichai, whose company is doing some of the most extensive research into the field, said AI could play a role in curing cancer. But he still acknowledges there is a “balance” to be reached in society.

“It’s fair to be worried about AI,” Pichai said. “We want to be thoughtful about it.”

Pichai was interviewed alongside YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki. The show, a joint effort between Recode and MSNBC called “Revolution: Google and YouTube Changing the World,” is scheduled to air soon on MSNBC.

This article originally appeared on

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