CNBC reports that spending on AI will be the biggest budget item for just about half of all tech executives over the next year, more than double the next biggest expense bucket (for cloud computing).

Just over half of them are also “less optimistic” about its impacts, suggesting that AI would destroy more jobs than it creates or that it was “too soon” to know what could happen.

Didn’t many of the people responsible for selling and using AI tech just call for a worldwide pause? What about one of its inventors doing media interviews telling and saying there’s a good chance a super-smart AI will choose to kill us?

The CNBC news comes from a survey it conducted of CTOs and various IT execs who reported numerous ways generative AI is already handling customer service, reviewing documents, and generating marketing content.

Some noted that their employees are using AI as “co-pilots,” which means that the tech can get smarter as it helps them do their jobs.

The survey also found tech execs concerned about cybersecurity, as hackers are already using AI, so there’ll be lots more spending on that front, too.

So, what about concerns about deepfakes, election manipulation, privacy, massive economic or social upheaval, and even the existential threat of AI?

Optimism outshines pessimism in the survey, with one respondent noting that AI ‘’[is an] intelligence that we can partner with in a broad set of tasks.”

Another exec admits that “…we have no real precedent for a technology that is effectively an alien intelligence,” but then quickly adds that we shouldn’t worry but instead “take care.”

He ends by suggesting that firms that shy away from adopting generative AI will be left behind, and muses that he could start an investment fund to short their stocks (and go long on AI users).

So much for slowing down.

[This essay appeared originally at Spiritual Telegraph]