Reid Hoffman on the economic promise of artificial intelligence

LinkedIn co-founder on AI

Despite concerns that artificial intelligence (AI) is a threat to jobs, Reid Hoffman, a co-founder of LinkedIn and one of the most influential people in Silicon Valley, said AI could in fact help create more positions.

"Broadly, all kind of technological transformations create productivity, but the intermediate transition is very painful," Hoffman said Thursday on "CBS This Morning."

Hoffman, who is a co-developer of the Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Fund and a partner at venture capital firm Greylock, warned things could get worse before they get better.

Reid Hoffman   CBS News

One example: "Autonomous vehicles, which will of course displace a lot of people who are currently driving, but hopefully we can create new opportunities for them," Hoffman said.

Hoffman gave the example of cars enabling the development of suburbs.

"You create new kind of economic centers, it could be construction, it could be retail jobs, it could be a number of other things. And I think that's what you are looking for. And with AI, that may actually help us with, what are the ways we can extend human capabilities so you can do new jobs," Hoffman said.

All in all, Hoffman said people should not lose sight of how AI can be instrumental.

"All big, new technologies both have opportunity and threat. In a sense, those are the great ones," Hoffman said. "When cars were invented, people were scared of them. They would have someone, they regulated initially, someone had to walk in front of them waving a flag because who knows what would happen. So it always a legitimate, like, what's the downside, what's the concern? And that's real with AI."

Referring to Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, one of the most prominent cautionary voices about the risks of AI, Hoffman said, "I mean, Elon is very smart. However, the opportunities are also great. And I think one of the things is important to say, OK, we need to navigate this the right way."

Watch the video above to see what Hoffman had to say about self-driving cars