Top executives from around the world are looking ahead to a potential future that will be significantly influenced by artificial intelligence, with both positive and negative outcomes possible.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — President Joe Biden and other global leaders have spent the past few days melding minds with Silicon Valley titans in San Francisco, their discussions frequently focusing on artificial intelligence, a technology expected to reshape the world, for better or worse.

Despite the vast intellect gathered at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, a crucial question still remains unanswered: Will AI be the driving force that propels humanity to greater success, or the catastrophic downfall that leads to its ultimate destruction?

During a CEO summit held alongside APEC, Biden stated that the world is currently at a critical turning point. He emphasized that the choices made at this moment will greatly impact the future of the world for many years to come.

It is unsurprising that the majority of the CEOs in attendance at the summit expressed optimism about the potential of AI to bring about advancements that will enhance productivity and ultimately raise living standards for workers.

No one was more optimistic than Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, whose software corporation has dedicated over $10 billion to OpenAI, the company responsible for the AI chatbot ChatGPT.

Similar to others in his industry, Nadella predicts that AI will have a significant impact, similar to the way personal computers, the internet, and smartphones have transformed society during their respective eras.

According to Nadella’s statement at the CEO summit, we now have the ability to communicate with computers using natural language. This means that technology is starting to understand us, rather than us having to adapt to it. As our interactions with technology become more natural, computers will become better at understanding our intentions and comprehending the world around us.

The leader of Google, Sundar Pichai, believes that as his company incorporates more AI into its search engine, humanity can use it to improve the world.

“I believe that we must put in effort to utilize it,” stated Pichai. “However, this is also applicable to all previous technological advancements. It was the case during the industrial revolution. I think we can take lessons from those experiences.”

Nadella and Pichai’s excitement has been matched by investors who believe that AI will be profitable for both Microsoft and Google. The rapid progress in AI is the primary factor behind the significant increase in stock prices for Microsoft and Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., which have risen by more than 50% this year. These gains have resulted in an additional $1.6 trillion in value for shareholders.

However, those outside the tech industry tend to have a more cautious viewpoint.

According to Condoleezza Rice, a former U.S. Secretary of State and current director of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, while everyone may be familiar with the acronym AI, they are not fully aware of its potential uses. While there are significant advantages to utilizing AI, there are also potential risks associated with its misuse.

According to Robert Moritz, the head of the consulting company PricewaterhouseCoopers, there are valid worries surrounding the “Doomsday talks” focusing on the impact of AI and the potential for it to replace the need for humans in various job roles.

Moritz stated that companies have devised methods for educating individuals who are displaced from their jobs due to previous technological disruptions. He expressed that this will need to occur once more, otherwise there will be a discrepancy that could lead to increased turmoil, which is not something we can tolerate.

The city of San Francisco, which is hosting APEC, is relying on the large investments in AI and the growth of job opportunities in startups like OpenAI and Anthropic to bring economic prosperity back to a city that continues to face challenges from the pandemic. The pandemic has resulted in a shift towards remote work, and San Francisco is still trying to adapt to this change.

“The city is currently experiencing a surge of innovation during the spring season,” declared Mayor London Breed of San Francisco. She proudly announced that eight of the leading companies focused on artificial intelligence are located in the city.

The existential threat to humanity posed by AI is one of the reasons that led tech mogul Elon Musk to spend some of his estimated fortune of $240 billion to launch a startup called xAI during the summer. Musk had been scheduled to discuss his hopes and fears surrounding AI during the CEO summit with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, but canceled Thursday because of an undisclosed conflict.

The CEO of OpenAI, Sam Altman, forecasted that AI will be the most significant advancement in technology compared to previous revolutions. However, he also recognized the necessity for safeguards to shield humanity from the potential risks presented by the rapid advancements in computer technology.

Altman expressed confidence that the world will step up and everyone is motivated to act ethically.