Databricks CEO Looks Forward at The Age of AI

In a recent interview with Fortune, Ali Ghodsi, the creator and CEO of Databricks, expressed his belief that artificial intelligence (AI) will bring about a societal transformation greater than that of the internet, rivaling the magnitude of the Industrial Revolution. Drawing parallels between this era and the monumental shifts of the past, Ghodsi coined it the "intelligence revolution."

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Ghodsi's proclamation comes on the heels of his address at the Money20/20 conference, a prominent fintech gathering held at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The event saw the participation of industry giants like JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, PayPal, and Plaid, underscoring the significance of the discussions surrounding AI's impact on the financial sector.

Ben Horowitz, the co-founder and general partner of Andreessen Horowitz, joined Ghodsi on stage, reflecting on his own early skepticism about AI's feasibility during his studies in the 1980s. Horowitz emphasized the profound nature of the impending changes, acknowledging that the sheer novelty and potential power of AI can be unsettling for many.

While both Ghodsi and Horowitz acknowledge the potential hazards associated with AI, they maintain a hopeful outlook. They stress the imperative need for responsible implementation through legislative measures to ensure that AI benefits society at large. Ghodsi emphasized the significance of careful and considerate development by drawing a comparison between the potential risks and those posed by innovations like fire and the hammer.

Ghodsi's optimism stems from the tangible and life-saving breakthroughs that AI has already facilitated. He cited Regeneron's use of AI to identify the genome responsible for chronic liver disease as a prime example of the life-saving potential this technology holds. Ghodsi envisions similar breakthroughs in healthcare, education, and science as AI continues to evolve.

Databricks, valued at an impressive $43 billion, has been at the forefront of the AI revolution. The company's recent acquisitions of Arcion and MosaicML, totaling over $1.4 billion, reflect their commitment to pushing the boundaries of AI applications. Ghodsi hinted at the possibility of a public offering, highlighting the high demand for their services and the company's readiness to meet it.

Ghodsi also provided forward-looking job guidance, predicting that proficiency in data and AI will be a prerequisite for future CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. This forecast underscores the pivotal role that AI will play in shaping the future of businesses across all industries.