'Anthropomorphizing AI' And Why AI Is 'One Of The Most Unfortunate Names'

Satya Nadella
CEO of Microsoft

In traditional pop culture, robots sounds monotone and mechanical, and that they talk using formal and precise languages.

Sometimes, they can have stilted and have broken speech patterns, have beeping and booping sounds, talk repetitive phrases, and use simple, straightforward sentence structures.

So, what this means, robots should always sound like robots, right? No, not anymore.

The way robots sounded in the past, was to underscore their artificiality and separation from human characteristics. They had that electronic sound effects to emphasize their non-human origin.

But in the modern days of technology, following the time when tech companies created chatbots that can speak and listen, especially following the rise of generative AI-powered chatbots, the traditional robot-sounding robot approach is no longer relevant.

Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella.

People want increasingly lifelike robots.

But not the CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella has a different opinion.

After OpenAI got itself into trouble for copying the voice of actress Scarlett Johansson for its GPT-4o-powered ChatGPT voice assistant, Nadella thinks that OpenAI simply went a bit too far.

Speaking to Bloomberg Television, he said that:

"I don't like anthropomorphizing AI."

"I sort of believe it's a tool."

"It has got intelligence, if you want to give it that moniker, but it’s not the same intelligence that I have."

He also argues about AI being called "AI."

"I think one of the most unfortunate names is 'Artificial Intelligence' — I wish we had called it 'Different Intelligence.'"

"Because I have my intelligence. I don’t need any artificial intelligence."

Microsoft is the largest backer of OpenAI, and also its biggest investor.

While Microsoft has OpenAI's back, its relationship is nothing more than business, which is mutual, and aims to accelerate breakthroughs in AI.

Investing on OpenAI is giving Microsoft access to its most-advanced AI technologies and models, including its latest GPT series. This helps Microsoft maintain its competitive edge in the rapidly evolving AI landscape. And as for OpenAI, having Microsoft on its back means that it has access to Microsoft's near-limitless resources. This should significantly improve OpenAI's business development.

But when Sam Altman is doing something that is not in the best interest of Microsoft, it's Satya Nadella that has the right to at least complain.

Applying human attributes to AI has been an ongoing phenomenon as the technology gets ever more sophisticated.

And this time, Nadella simply dislikes anthropomorphizing AI, and that he prefers AI is a bad naming.