From top left, clockwise: Wanda Wang; Gaurav Oberoi; Beth Birnbaum; Jonathan Yan; Bob Muglia. (GeekWire Photos / Taylor Soper)

Depending on who you ask, artificial intelligence is getting too much attention — or not enough.

That was one takeaway from my conversations last night at the opening reception for the IA Summit, which takes place today in Seattle and focuses on intelligent and generative applications.

A new report from insights firm GBK Collective found that 58% of senior leaders are actively using generative AI at work. A recent KPMG survey found that more than two-thirds of CEOs rank generative AI as a primary priority for their company.

But the electric buzz around AI may be simmering off. Fears of a bubble are growing, and venture capitalists are wondering if the technology will ever translate to profits.

We spoke to five people at Monday’s event to get their take on whether AI is overhyped or underhyped at the current moment. Comments were edited for brevity and clarity.

Gaurav Oberoi, CEO and co-founder of Seattle startup Lexion

“It’s both. Overhyped for a lot of business users, buyers of products, whose expectations have been set a little out of alignment with what is actually possible. On the other hand, it’s underhyped because the capabilities of what is possible are significant. And I think all of us building in the space see those capabilities and are like, gosh, a lot of really great products are about to come. So it’s an interesting time.”

Beth Birnbaum, former Expedia and Grubhub exec, current board member at WIley, Root, Fandom, and other companies

“It’s the appropriate level of hype. AI is the kind of transformative technology that’s not going to have the impact that people think it’s going to have in the next few years. But it’s going to have massively transformative impact over the decades to come.”

Jonathan Yan, CEO and co-founder of Seattle startup Roam

“It’s underhyped. It’s still really early days. We’re figuring out all the use cases and advancements through the technology. As time evolves, hopefully we’ll see the scale and the impact on our society. You could probably draw a parallel to the growth in Web3. But in terms of the pain points and problems that AI solves for society, I think it vastly outweighs Web3.”

Bob Muglia, former CEO of Snowflake. current angel investor and board member at RelationalAI, Docugami, Fauna, and other companies

“It’s hard to say that it’s not hyped enough. So I can’t say it’s underhyped. I think we are about to enter, in Gartner terms, the classic trough of disillusionment. But it may be very short lived, depending on how good the products are.”

Wanda Wang, generative AI tech lead at Deloitte

“Overhyped because the folks that aren’t necessarily touching and building AI have all these misconceptions about it, like it’s magic. But it’s also underhyped because some don’t realize the staggering amounts of potential.”

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