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IBM Think 2023: CEO Krishna On The Need To Be ‘Careful’ With AI As An ‘Explosion Of Innovation’ To Come In Next Decade

Wade Tyler Millward

AI is still not at the point of autonomous systems with no humans watching and taking control, says IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, as made-up information from AI presented as fact is still an issue. ‘You have to be careful. If the consequence is massive, I would be a little cautious.’

IBM Chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna was front and center during the vendor’s Think 2023 conference, using multiple speaking appearances to weigh in on IBM’s opportunity in artificial intelligence, hybrid cloud and quantum computing. He also spoke about Google’s role in AI, complimented VMware and forecast where AI is headed next.

The CEO of Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM also said the company had taken an incorrect approach to selling AI after achieving worldwide attention for a computer system that could beat world champion chess player Garry Kasparov in the 1990s and could beat champions of the game show “Jeopardy” in the 2010s.

The vendor assumed that customers would want AI black boxes where they didn’t see how deep learning systems could make decisions.

“That was an incorrect conclusion from the right observation,” Krishna said. “That was wrong.”

[RELATED: IBM Think 2023: Watsonx Promises Enterprise AI At Scale With Trust]

IBM CEO Krishna At Think 2023

He also warned against trusting fully autonomous AI systems with no human oversight and control in certain areas.

“You have to be careful,” he said. “If the consequence is massive, I would be a little cautious.”

Think 2023, a gathering of about 4,000 business and technology leaders, runs through Thursday in Orlando, Fla.

For the first time, IBM held a Partner Plus Day for content geared toward about 750 partners in attendance. Krishna also spoke during that event Monday.

IBM has about 55,000 worldwide channel partners, 12,000 of them in North America, according to CRN’s 2023 Channel Chiefs list.

Here’s what else Krishna had to say.

Wade Tyler Millward

Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at

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