Here's why Google Cloud VP Chen Goldberg is both optimistic and pessimistic about AI

Goldberg discusses how AI is changing the recruitment process for software engineers and the career prospects for those in the field.

Here's why Google Cloud VP Chen Goldberg is both optimistic and pessimistic about AI

Google's I/O Developer Event last week was dominated by the new gadgets for consumers and artificial intelligence features that the company is adding to its search engine and other products.

Google Cloud, the cloud-based services and products that the company offers -- which are collectively known by the name Google Cloud -- continue to be a key part of Alphabet Inc.'s business. About 50,000 Alphabet employees are involved in Google's cloud-based products.

Chen Goldberg is a vice president of engineering and general manager at Google Cloud. Goldberg, who is a top engineer at Google, leads a team that consists of hundreds of engineers. Kubernetes was designed by Google and allows businesses to create applications that are easily scalable to millions of users. Goldberg has been at Google for seven years. He has over 20 years' experience in leading engineering teams, including at Hewlett Packard Corp.

She sat with the Business Journal in Mountain View at the I/O conference to discuss the use of AI by Google Cloud, the impact that technology has on recruiting, and her mixed feelings about the topic. This interview has been edited.

How difficult is it for engineers to find work in Silicon Valley today?

You can find everything here. There are many startups and billboards advertising other software companies. This is unique to Silicon Valley. Here, you can also access a lot new technology. I moved to the U.S. only nine years ago, after spending most of my professional career in Israel.

Google is a worldwide company and we are very interested in having talent from around the globe. We do this because perspective, experience, and sharing are important. We recruit globally -- and that is important to me -- because we have to cater to our global audience.

Has the recent surge in AI interest changed things?

It's because I feel the same way about AI/ML as I did seven years ago when I was excited by Kubernetes, cloud-native technology and other technologies. People have the chance to become experts in new areas. It's an exciting opportunity for me in the industry.

Are you an AI optimist or pessimist?

It's definitely somewhere in the middle. Early applications have shown that the results can be less than desirable. You can't verify the source of all information, for example. As a parent, I always tell my children to verify the source. Is this a reliable or unreliable source?

I'm also optimistic. If I'm a businessman and want to launch a new bag on the market, I don't have to go into production. You can change the texture or color using artificial intelligence. The cost of an error is not that high.

Imagine how this can affect innovation.

How will AI change the careers and lives of software engineers in the future?

Our job will become easier, and we can be more efficient. You know, to make a programmer or engineer happy you let them code. We are happier when we get things done quickly. We care about speed from an innovation standpoint.

Google Cloud has been using AI and machine learning for the past few years. Our customers have received recommendations and we've automated more based on those. Now, we're able to use natural language to describe what I would like to build, do, collaborate, and spark new ideas.