Beyond Speculations: How Tech Leaders Utilize AI

Posted by Cedric Joshua Martinez
Nov 09, 2017
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Over the years, numerous business and tech leaders have witnessed the enormous strides made by artificial intelligence (AI) across various industries.

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AI plays an integral role in streamlining processes and enhancing the way businesses operate, benefiting people with more seamless experience. 

Back in 2017, when this blog was first published, there was a lot of talk about how AI would impact our lives. Business leaders and analysts are all waiting for the latest developments, while working professionals are cautiously taking steps to prepare their careers for the AI takeover. Even then, leaders all over the world have been debating about the possible effects of robotics and artificial intelligence on our future. 


In this blog, let’s recall the predictions made by these tech leaders and see if they were right about the potential impacts of AI. We will also discuss how these tech moguls have been leveraging AI on their businesses over the years. 

A look back at the predictions 

Here are things that tech leaders have said about AI in its earlier stage back in 2017:  

1. “Artificial Intelligence would be the ultimate version of Google. The ultimate search engine that would understand everything on the Web.” 

  • Larry Page, Google Co-Founder and Alphabet CEO 

For the past few years, Google has been aggressive in its AI R&D programs. Back in 2016, the company introduced two major AI products – Google’s self-driving car and Google Assistant.


However, the foundation of Google’s vision to be a world leader in AI was laid in the early 2000’s. According to Page, for Google to fulfill its mission of becoming the ultimate search engine, it will need to be “AI-complete”. 


Since then, Page and the rest of Alphabet (Google's parent company) have brought AI closer to consumers by integrating their virtual assistant program into Android devices and furthering AI research under DeepMind. (another Alphabet subsidiary).  


Fast Forward to 2024:  Google's AI Impact 

Page's vision has become a reality. Today, AI has indeed become the ultimate version of Google, with the company utilizing and leveraging artificial intelligence across its range of products and services.


Its AI-powered features are integrated into search engines, Maps, Pixel devices, Google Photos, YouTube, the Google Assistant, Gmail, Ads, and the Cloud. These AI-driven enhancements have made their products and services even more helpful and user-friendly.


To learn more how Google uses artificial intelligence in its product and services, you can check out this blog. 


2. “AI is horizontal in nature, running across all products.”

  1. Tim Cook, Apple, Inc. CEO


Across the mobile-verse, Tim Cook is leading the Cupertino-based tech giant in integrating AI technology across all Apple products to improve their performance.


In his interview with the Nikkei Asian Review, the Apple CEO claimed that AI can be used in ways people don’t even think about. 


Cook cited device battery life improvement and Apple Music recommendations as some examples of how this type of AI integration can improve performance and user experience.  


Fast forward to 2024, how has Apple evolved? 

Apple prefers to use the more academic phrase "machine learning" over “AI”, CNBC revealed.  


The company has been known for using machine learning for several years. While not all its features are technically AI, it does rely on machine learning system to function. Some examples include Siri, the TrueDepth camera and Face ID, Photos, Camera App, Calendar, keyboard, journal app, and Watch OS, as reported by Apple Insider. 


By embracing machine learning and AI technologies, Apple has continuously enhanced its products and offered users more seamless experiences. 


3. “Machines should only do what humans cannot.”

  1. Jack Ma, Alibaba Founder and Chairman

China’s wealthiest man and tech entrepreneur Jack Ma confronts the AI issue with a moderate tone. The Alibaba founder claims that artificial intelligence and other technologies will cause more pain in people than happiness.  


Ma acknowledged that AI would disrupt jobs in various sectors but highlighted the importance of keeping machines as working partners with humans rather than replacing them entirely. According to him, machines should only perform tasks that humans are unable to handle.


He believed that by focusing on imagination, innovation, and creativity, human workers could remain relevant in the face of technological advancements. 


Fast Forward to 2024, How’s Alibaba Now? 

Now, as one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world, Alibaba has embraced AI to enhance its services. The company leverages artificial intelligence to predict customer preferences more accurately.


Through their AI algorithms and natural language processing, Alibaba can generate product descriptions automatically, making the shopping experience more seamless for its customers.   


But Alibaba's commitment to AI doesn't stop there. Their visionary city brain project utilizes AI algorithms to monitor every vehicle in the city and aims to reduce traffic congestion. By leveraging AI in this manner, Alibaba demonstrates its commitment to implementing innovative solutions to address real-world challenges.  


Now, let's talk about how AI has impacted Alibaba's employees. Former Alibaba's CEO, Ma, has always emphasized that AI should complement human workers rather than replace them 


In 2024, under the leadership of the new CEO Eddie Wu, the company continues to prioritize a "user-first" and "AI-driven" approach. These initiatives not only demonstrate Alibaba's progressive ethos but also show its dedication to fostering a harmonious collaboration between human employees and technological advancements. 


To learn more about how AI has impacted Alibaba's operations, you can read this blog.  


4. If you’re not concerned about AI safety, you should be.” 

  • Elon Musk, Tesla Inc., SpaceX, and OpenAI CEO 

Surprisingly, one of the most innovative CEOs held a skeptical stance on the progress of AI. Elon Musk has been vocal about the threat of our future with AI.  


His greatest fears? An AI-centered arms race and the development of ‘autonomous weapons’. While scenarios similar to those in The Terminator seem a bit too far ahead, Musk, together with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Physicist Stephen Hawking, and 1,000 other AI researchers, have warned governments around the world and the United Nations against developing AI-enabled autonomous weapons.  


According to the letter that they published, offensive weapons that can operate on their own would lower the threshold of going to battle and may increase the loss of human life. 


Fast Forward to 2024: How is Tesla Progressing? 

Today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has taken AI to new heights by introducing Optimus, a humanoid robot.  

Designed to handle "dangerous and boring tasks," Optimus can perform a range of functions, including attaching bolts to cars using a wrench and even picking up groceries.  


Its capabilities are truly impressive. To learn more information on Tesla's Optimus, you can refer to this article in the Daily Mail. As we look ahead, it is important to note Musk's words on ethical AI utilization.


He has made it clear that AI should not be used in the development of autonomous weapons, positioning Tesla's leadership in promoting responsible and sustainable technological practices. 


 5. “In the next five to ten years, AI is going to deliver so many improvements in the quality of lives.”

  1. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook Founder and CEO

Back in July 2017, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk have debated on the potential of AI publicly 


In this debate, Zuckerberg expressed optimism about AI, while Musk was more pessimistic. Zuckerberg believed that AI had immense potential to improve research and systems in various fields such as medical research, disease diagnosis, road safety, and content quality in digital networks.  


Fast Forward to 2024, How’s Meta Now?  


Meta Platforms Inc., formerly known as Facebook, has effectively harnessed the power of AI to enhance and improve its services. 


Today, Meta is maximizing the use of its cutting-edge AI systems and machine learning technologies on its advanced advertising algorithms, AI-powered chat functions, and image generation capabilities, among others.  


Meta has been able to create a highly personalized and unique user experience on their platform. By leveraging the power of AI, Meta predicts the value and relevance of content to its users, ensuring their experience remains tailored to their interests and preferences. 


The Bottom Line  

AI has unquestionably transformed the way various industries operate. The predictions made by tech leaders in 2017 have largely aligned with the developments we have witnessed since then.  

As Benjamin Franklin wisely said, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." This statement resonates with the need for every industry, including finance, to recognize the value that AI offers and adapt to the changes it brings in our modern world. To learn more AI in finance and accounting, you can read this blog. 


Looking for a partner to integrate AI into your accounting needs? 

Consider D&V Philippines. We are a trusted finance and accounting outsourcing company with extensive experience and top-notch services. We can help you prepare for your accounting automation journey. Schedule a free consultation with us today to learn more about how we can help you integrate AI into your business.  

You can also download our Harnessing the Power of Business Analytics guide today and see how we can help when it comes to your company’s assets. 

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This post was first published on 9 November 2017 and edited on 11 March 2024. Edited by: Angelica Garcia 


Our Outsourcing: How to Make it Work guide explores how you can utilize accounting and finance outsourcing to drive growth to your business and add value to your processes.