Google Strategist Resigns, Says Firm’s AI Work Driven By Greed

A recently-retired strategist who used to work for Google blasted his former employer on LinkedIn this week for its apparent greed regarding artificial intelligence.

Scott Jenson, who worked as a UX strategist for Google until recently, said the tech giant’s work on AI is driven by greed and attempts to cash in on this latest trend in the industry. As he wrote in his LinkedIn  post:

“The ‘AI Projects’ I was working on were poorly motivated and driven by this panic that as long as it had ‘AI’ in it, it would be great. This myopia is NOT something driven by a user need. It is a stone cold panic that they are getting left behind.”

While Jenson didn’t mention what projects he was referring to, other posts he has made to his LinkedIn profile offer a glimpse into what they might be. In some other posts, he rails against the limits of the company’s Gemini chatbot as well as the poor user interfaces that the chatbots have.

Google has seemingly tried to keep up with other tech companies that are leading in the way with AI, such as OpenAI and Microsoft. Recently, the company embedded AI search results into its search engine as a way to ram AI down users’ throats.

But, thus far — as many outlets have reported — these “enhancements” Google has promised have all fallen very short.

Jenson continued in his post:

“The vision is that there will be a … Jarvis assistant in your phone that locks you into their ecosystem so hard that you’ll never leave,” making a reference to the Marvel comics superpowered AI assistant. 

“That vision is pure catnip. The fear is that they can’t afford to let someone else get there first.”

Google isn’t the only company that has been apparently motivated to develop AI based on fears that a competitor might get ahead.

A federal case recently unveiled emails from Microsoft that the initial investment the company made with OpenAI in 2019 likely came because of concerns they would fall behind Google in regard to AI.

But, Jenson said it’s not just Google and Microsoft that are doing this, but other tech companies, too. He wrote:

“Apple is no different. They are too trying to create this AI lock-in with Siri. When the emperor, eventually, has no clothes, they’ll be lapped by someone thinking bigger.

“I’m not a luddite. There *is* some value to this new technology. It’s just not well motivated.”

AI is obviously the “next big thing” in technology that is already here in ways big and small. Nearly every company — inside and outside of tech — is trying to figure out ways to embrace it and integrate it into their operations to streamline their organizations and vault them forward.

But, there is a lot of concern that remains about all of this, as evidenced by many big tech leaders expressing fears about too much development of AI.