Mustafa Suleyman is a figure in artificial intelligence. With a taxi driver father of Syrian origin and an English nurse mother, he spent his childhood in London, where he attended Queen Elizabeth's School, a high school in the northern suburbs. It was at this time that he met Demis Hassabis, with whom he created DeepMind, a company which achieved the double feat of developing software capable of beating the best Go players and of modeling protein folding, a breakthrough in biology. After leaving DeepMind, acquired by Google, he launched a few months ago, with LinkedIn co-creator Reid Hoffman, Inflection AI, a start-up that raised $1.3 billion from shareholders like Microsoft and Nvidia . With this new adventure, the researcher is working on Pi (Personal intelligence), a conversational agent that he wants to endow with empathy. Suleyman is the author, with Michael Bhaskar, of The Coming Wave, Technology, Power and the 21st Century's Greatest Dilemma, a particularly anticipated work which will be published in French under the title La Déferlante, on October 25, by Fayard.
Le Point: To what extent will artificial intelligence change our society?
Mustafa Suleyman: Artificial intelligence is an earthquake. It is the greatest force amplifier in history, a huge accelerator and booster of human capabilities themselves. This will inevitably have immense political and social consequences. When it comes to jobs, AI distills the essence of the global economy – intelligence – into an algorithmic construct. It is inevitable that as artificial intelligence gains cognitive capabilities, it will begin to take over jobs. In all this upheaval, few things will remain unchanged.
What should we teach our children, or even adults, so that they have the best chance in this new world?
Even if artificial intelligence and, more broadly, the wave that it will bring carry risks, this period will also be the most productive in the history of humanity. I believe these tools will spark a major economic boom as productivity reaches new levels. There will be huge disruptions, yes, but also opportunities. It's important to keep this in mind: as societies, we could be wealthier and more comfortable than ever before. However, given the potential for disruption, it makes sense to look at jobs directly related to technology. But also to the jobs that will be linked to efforts to contain this artificial intelligence, whether in companies or within governments. There will be a lot of adaptations, which will lead to the creation of new jobs. In the medium term, professions that rely directly on human interaction – from cellist to physiotherapist – will become increasingly important.
AI creates many amazing opportunities, in medicine for example, but also raises fears. How should it be regulated?
Regulation must be up to the task, although in my book I argue that regulation alone is not enough. It must be as fine as necessary to avoid overflows, and allow humans to maintain control of the technology while avoiding negative impacts. As for whether it should be global, that is to say the same in all its applications, or adapted to each sector, I think it must be both at the same time. There will be no magic answer that will fit every situation. We must multiply approaches. It will require voluntary frameworks and business principles alongside sectoral regulation, which will be supported by national laws and international treaties. All these elements must be introduced at the same time, in a coherent manner and add up to form a regulation capable of containing the coming surge §