Talking about the alarms raised by the likes of Musk and Stephen Hawking, Schmidt said that “they think that by unleashing AI, eventually, you’ll end up with a robot overlord that’s 10 or 100 or 1,000 times smarter than the humans. My answer is different. I think all the evidence is that these AI systems are going to think, not like humans, but they’re going to be very smart. We’re going to have to coexist.” You don’t think Siri and Alexa are going to kill us one night? “No,” he said. “But they might become your child’s best friend.” Opinions on AI are wildly divergent. Jaron Lanier, the father of virtual reality, rolls his eyes at the digerati in Silicon Valley obsessed with the “science-fiction fantasy” of AI “It can sometimes become a giant, false god,” he told me. “You’ve got these nerdy guys who have an awful reputation for how they treat women, who get to be the life creators. ‘You women with your petty little biological wombs can’t stand up to us. We’re making the big life here. We’re the supergods of the future.’” We have known for a while that Silicon Valley is taking us down the drain. Preposterous claims that once could not have gotten traction — on everything from Democratic paedophilia rings to rigged elections to vaccine conspiracy theories — now spread at the speed of light. Teenage girls can be sent spiralling into depression by the glossy, deceptive world of Instagram, owned by the manipulative and greedy company formerly known as Facebook.