As Co-Founder and CEO of Google Deepmind, Demis Hassabis is an AI visionary who has dedicated his professional life to the field. A chess prodigy as a child, he holds a PhD in cognitive neuroscience and worked as an AI video games programmer early in his career.
Hassabis co-founded the AI research laboratory DeepMind Technologies in 2010. Google acquired it in 2014, with Hassabis continuing as CEO. The acclaimed 2017 AI documentary film AlphaGo centres on a computer program developed by DeepMind and Hassabis that plays the abstract strategy board game "Go".
1 - On his reasons for being involved in AI
"I want to understand the big questions, the really big ones that you normally go into philosophy or physics if you’re interested in. I thought building AI would be the fastest route to answer some of those questions."
In a 2023 interview with Time, Hassabis articulated how attempting to answer age-old questions about human existence fuels his passion for AI.
2 - On using AI to solve some of humanity's biggest problems
"I would actually be very pessimistic about the world if something like AI wasn’t coming down the road."
At the 2018 Economist Innovation Summit, Hassabis spoke about how AI could be the quantum technological leap needed to help address pressing global issues like inequality and climate change.
3 - On AI's role in supporting human experts
"It is in this collaboration between people and algorithms that incredible scientific progress lies over the next few decades."
Writing in the Financial Times in 2017, Hassabis stated his belief that combining the abilities of AI to identify patterns and insights with the expertise of scientists will drive incredible progress over the next few decades.
4 - On the timeline to achieve artificial general intelligence (AGI)
"Right now, I would not be surprised if we approached something like AGI or AGI-like in the next decade."
Speaking with the Verge in 2023, Hassabis gave his thoughts on the timeline for achieving artificial general intelligence (AGI).
5 - On concerns about AI development
"I think there are valid concerns and they should be discussed and debated now, decades before there's anything that's actually of any potential consequence or power that we need to worry about, so we have the answers in place well ahead of time."
Speaking in 2015, Hassabis acknowledged legitimate concerns raised around the use of AI by, among others, Professor Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, an early DeepMind investor.
6 - On the risks of AI being used by bad actors
"This technology has such potential for enormous, enormous good, but it’s a dual-use technology. So if bad actors get hold of it, it could be used for bad things."
Speaking with the New York Times in 2023, Hassabis discussed signing an open letter on making the risk of extinction from AI a global priority like other risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.
7 - On adapting to the rapid pace of AI change
"You look at today, us using all of our smartphones and other devices, and we effortlessly adapt to these new technologies. And this is gonna be another one of those changes like that."
In a conversation with CBS in 2023, Hassabis stated his belief that humans are an infinitely adaptable species and that we will adapt to AI as we did to mobile phones and social media.
Aiifi's Thoughts on Demis Hassabis's Quotes
Demis Hassabis's quotes on the future of AI provide us with a balanced perspective on AI's potential and challenges. Drawing on his lifetime of real-world experience, his thoughts highlight the transformative potential of AI, along with the need for caution in how we apply it. With his ongoing involvement at the forefront of AI development, he will continue to be a source of wisdom over the next few years and decades.