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Google Speakers Hone in on AI at Collision Toronto

By Meghan Hall |  June 28, 2023
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The Collision 2023 Conference hosted two keynote speakers from Google for the second day of the three-day event: Colin Murdoch, Chief Business Officer of Google DeepMind, and Cassie Kozyrkov, Google’s Chief Decision Scientist. 

Kozyrkov will be a main stage speaker at Impact 2023.

Collision gathers over 35,000 people across industries for an annual technology and innovation conference. This year, the conference is being held at the Enercare Center in Toronto, Canada. 

The AI Revolution is Not About AI

Murdoch and Kozyrkov shared their insights on generative artificial intelligence (AI) — and explained that AI has existed and been in use for some time — not just recently. Many major companies have used it to enable processes and automation since the 1980s.

If you’ve only just gotten excited about it in the last six, seven months, what you’re excited about isn’t actually AI — it is user experience design. This AI revolution is actually a design revolution. — Cassie Kozyrkov, Google

Colin Murdoch, Chief Business Officer of Google DeepMind (Photo courtesy of Collision 2023)

DeepMind, acquired by Google in 2014, has been using AI since its inception in 2010.

But as generative AI becomes increasingly accessible, and as enthusiasm for these technologies peaks, it has become a key point of discussion and debate  for many working in innovation, technology, and strategy in a more visible public context.  

Kozyrkov said that the current AI revolution is bootstrapped by far more than the technology itself. 

“What is today’s AI revolution about? I propose to you that it is, in fact, not about AI at all. If you were excited by generative AI [or] AI in general a year ago, five years ago, then you were excited by AI capabilities,” Kozyrkov said. “If you’ve only just gotten excited about it in the last six, seven months, what you’re excited about isn’t actually AI — it is user experience design. This AI revolution is actually a design revolution.”

Responsibility in Use Cases and Design

Kozyrkov and Murdoch stressed the importance of taking responsibility for ethical use of artificial intelligence tools — but also of holding developers and engineers accountable for the AI they create. 

Cassie Kozyrkov, Chief Decision Scientist at Google (Photo courtesy of Collision 2023)

Murdoch said those deploying and developing AI need to be cognizant of biases and work to be inclusionary in their approach. 

“I feel like, in the last six to 12 months, we’ve had this AI lightbulb moment because it’s driving huge impact in science and in business,” Murdoch said. “I know there are even bigger breakthroughs on the horizon, and their impact will be enormous. It’s really important that we do it in a way that’s safe, ethical, and inclusive so we build a positive future for everyone.”

Kozyrkov said AI cannot actually think — nor can it make decisions completely independently. 

“When you are not the one making the decisions and it looks like the machine is doing it, there is someone who was actually making that decision for you: whoever built the technology,” she said. “I hope that we will step up and… hold them for bringing the best of humanity to that design rather than the worst. This is about thinking, and we all have the space to think more in the future.” 

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