AI leaders tackle tough questions at Fortune Brainstorm AI London – Fortune

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A quick introduction from me: I joined Fortune last month as an AI reporter after two years covering all things AI at VentureBeat. I’m thrilled to continue on this fast-paced tech beat and happy to step in for Jeremy Kahn today, who has had his hands full leading the Fortune Brainstorm AI conference in London this week.

I wish I could have been there in person—after all, this was the first time Fortune’s Brainstorm AI conversation has made its way to Europe, after several successful years in San Francisco. But I did catch some of the livestream, and it was chock-full of top leaders from startups, and companies across Europe, as well as investors, policymakers, and academics—all discussing generative AI as a crucial moment that provides the industry with both an opportunity to innovate and a challenge to tackle responsibly.  

Here are some of the key themes and issues discussed by AI industry leaders at the conference: 

AI could gobble up a quarter of all electricity in the U.S. by 2030 if it doesn’t break its energy addiction, says Arm Holdings exec: Before artificial intelligence can transform society, the technology will first have to learn how to live within its means, Ami Badani, chief marketing officer at chip design company Arm Holdings, told the Brainstorm AI London audience. Right now generative AI technology has an “insatiable demand” for electricity to power the tens of thousands of compute clusters needed to operate large language models like OpenAI’s GPT-4, Badani said. 

Asking Big Tech to police AI is like turning to ‘oil companies to solve climate change: Managing artificial intelligence’s impact on society isn’t the responsibility of private companies, the founder of a nonprofit AI research lab said Connor Leahy, cofounder of EleutherAI, at a panel called “Innovation vs. Ethics: Striking the Right Balanced in AI Regulation.” He argued that the onus of how transformational technologies will impact the public shouldn’t be placed on the tech industry. Instead, it’s elected governments that should regulate the sector adequately to keep people safe.

Expert argues AI won’t lead to mass layoffs for workers anytime soon: The day that artificial intelligence takes your job may be further off than most people think. At a panel about the impact of generative AI, Marc Warner, the chief executive of AI consultancy Faculty, dismissed fears that adopting the technology at scale would automatically lead to a mass culling of employees.

The next AI winter could be caused by users’ trust issues—but ‘mindful friction’ can keep it from happening: Paula Goldman, Salesforce’s chief ethical and humane use officer, told Fortune executive news editor Nick Lichtenberg that AI should play the role of copilot alongside humans—not exist on autopilot. “We need next-level controls,” she said. “We need people to be able to understand what’s going on across the AI system.”

Fortune announces AI tool with Accenture to help analyze and visualize the Fortune 500: The 95-year-old Fortune is entering the age of AI with a new tool aimed at better analyzing the Fortune 500. The new product, called Fortune Analytics, is being developed in partnership with Accenture. It will deliver ChatGPT-style responses based on 20 years of financial data from the Fortune 500 and Global 500 lists, as well as related articles, Fortune chief financial officer and incoming CEO Anastasia Nyrkovskaya announced. 

Of course, there are puh-lenty of other AI happenings to ponder, so (drumroll) onward to the news:

Sharon Goldman
[email protected]

AI IN THE NEWS

Microsoft invests $1.5 billion in top United Arab Emirates-based AI firm G42. Microsoft, which has made big AI industry news of late—bringing in top talent from Inflection AI and investing in Paris-based Mistral—is now making a more unusual move with a $1.5 billion investment in Abu Dhabi’s G42 that gives Microsoft a minority stake in the UAE-based AI development company that runs data centers and sells applications. According to CNBC, the deal is “highly unusual” because it is backed by both the U.S. and UAE governments. In a blog post, Microsoft said the commercial partnership is “backed by assurances to the US and UAE governments through a first-of-its-kind binding agreement to apply world-class best practices to ensure the secure, trusted, and responsible development and deployment of AI.”

OpenAI’s announcement of a new Tokyo office is just the latest sign of a Japan AI boom. OpenAI opened its first Asia location, announcing that former AWS leader Tadao Nagasaki will lead the company’s Tokyo office. It’s just the latest signal that AI in Japan is booming: Just last week President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kashida announced that Amazon and Nvidia would help fund a new joint AI research program; while Microsoft announced a $2.9 billion investment in AI and cloud infrastructure in Japan. David Ha, cofounder of the Tokyo-based research company Sakana AI, told me this week that Japan is a large and sophisticated AI market: “Google already had a huge presence in Japan, Amazon has already committed to investing $15B in Japan a few months ago, while large Japanese giants like NTT also have a role to play in shaping AI in Japan,” he said.

FORTUNE ON AI

Facebook and Instagram’s response to deepfake porn is under review by its Oversight Board —by Chris Morris

Europe is falling behind in generative AI, with the U.S. light years ahead. But the race is just getting started —by Prarthana Prakash and Alex Wood Morton 

From rags to riches, Rent the Runway goes from penny stock to quadrupling share prices in days after doubling down on AI —by Sasha Rogelberg

Elon Musk wants to make Grok AI an option for X premium users to compose tweets —by Kylie Robison

Millennial boss of French OpenAI challenger says tech CEOs’ obsession with AI outsmarting humans is a ‘very religious’ fascination: ‘I’m a strong atheist. So I don’t believe in AGI’ —by Ryan Hogg

AI CALENDAR

April 24: Meta reports calendar Q1 earnings

April 25: Microsoft and Alphabet report calendar Q1 earnings

May 7-11: International Conference on Learning Representations (ICLR) in Vienna

May 14: Google I/O conference

May 21-23: Microsoft Build conference in Seattle

June 5: FedScoop’s FedTalks 2024 in Washington, D.C.

June 25-27: 2024 IEEE Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Singapore

July 15-17: Fortune Brainstorm Tech in Park City, Utah (Register here)

Aug. 12-14: Ai4 2024 in Las Vegas

BRAINFOOD

How easy is it to build an AI-powered content farm that spews propaganda? Too easy. This story from the Wall Street Journal was fascinating—and, frankly, scary when elections are just a few months away. With OpenAI’s ChatGPT and a few lines of code and a developer from freelancer website Fiverr, the author says it took just “two days, $105 and no expertise whatsoever to launch a fully automated, AI-generated local news site capable of publishing thousands of articles a day—with the partisan news coverage framing of my choice, nearly all rewritten without credit from legitimate news sources.”  

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