Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google and Alphabet was interviewed at Stanford Graduate School of Business in April 2022 where he talked about the impact of AI on next-generation, Google’s stand on work-life balance, and many other important topics.
The interview had many questions to understand Pichai’s views on technology, its impacts on future generations, and how AI can make lives easier. He also talked about the Ukraine-Russia issue and Alphabet’s take to help the migrants.
He talked about how his initial days of being technology deficient made his vision clear to make technology accessible to all as long as they have computing and network resources. He recalled how people used to come to his house to make phone calls and how that build a sense of communication between them. He emphasized his early days being one of the reasons for him being amazed by the technology and devoted to making it accessible.
He came to Silicon Valley to work with semiconductors but left his Ph.D. in material science as he saw people working and devoting their lives to semiconductors without a solid output made him rethink his career choice. The uncertainty in the industry was another reason he left material science.
While talking about his past 20 years at Google, he said what he liked the most about the company was the transparency within the team. How people were encouraging and the types of projects he gets to work on are the reasons he loves Google and never left the company. At Google, he is doing what he wanted to do.
Sundar feels AI has a great impact on lives and Google tried to make every product with an AI-first approach.
“In some ways, technology forces you to engage with it. It hasn’t adapted enough to how humans live life”, Said Sundar
He claimed the events like walkout for women’s rights and acquisition of misleading the treatment of minorities as strengths of Google. He believes employee input pushes the company to be better across all the things it does. “our employees deeply are guardians of our values and we’ll do everything to get it right”, he added.
He said he loved the idea of giving flexibility and agency to the employees. Google has accepted 85% of the applications that were given for Work-From-Home. He says he motivates employees to apply for any work culture they want to and work in the environment that works for them.
“I think being able to support the participation of women in the workforce, I think the flexibility is going to be a huge asset.”
Google is actively participating in skilling people and has launched a career certificate program in the US and till now 7500 students have benefited from it, 50% of them being from underrepresented groups. Google is also involved in the Ukraine-Russia issue and Sundar himself has visited Warsaw to help people through Google. Employees of Google have welcomed 2-3 families into their houses. The company is also working toward sustainable production and has announced to go carbon-free by 2030 which is already carbon-neutral since 2007. All these things show up how the company is not only into business but also into building a better world for future generations.
Sundar said what motivates him to be a successful technology leader is the potential technology has to make people’s lives better. He wants to make technology accessible to everyone and has initiated multiple projects for the same from hiring people in Africa to building cheaper smartphones in India.