Interviewing the CEO of Microsoft about artificial intelligence

Tuesday 13th June, 2023 - Bruce Sterling

*That’s really a weird interview.


With AI, are we at one of those inflection points where the deck gets shuffled and formerly entrenched winners become vulnerable?

Absolutely. In some sense, each change gets us closer to the vision first presented in Vannevar Bush’s article [“As We May Think,” a 1945 article in The Atlantic that first presented a view of a computer-driven information nirvana]. That is the dream, right? The thing is, how does one really create this sense of success, which spans a long line of inflections from Bush to J. C. R. Licklider [who in 1960 envisioned a “symbiosis of humans and computers”] to Doug Engelbart [the mouse and windows] to the Alto [Xerox PARC’s graphical interface PC], to the PC, to the internet. It’s all about saying, “Hey, can there be a more natural interface that empowers us as humans to augment our cognitive capability to do more things?” So yes, this is one of those examples. Copilot is a metaphor because that is a design choice that puts the human at the center of it. So don’t make this development about autopilot—it’s about copilot. A lot of people are saying, “Oh my God, AI is here!” Guess what? AI is already all around us. In fact, all behavioral targeting uses a lot of generative AI. It’s a black box where you and I are just targets….