Chloe Kim thinks fears of robots taking over the world are overblown.
The 18-year-old snowboarder, who won a gold medal in the snowboarding halfpipe at Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics, was one of the games’ most recognizable athletes and has since been propelled into superstardom. She won three ESPYs last week, most notably one for the best female athlete.
And she was Microsoft’s special guest Wednesday in Seattle at the Imagine Cup world finals, the company’s annual student tech and innovation competition. She appeared with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on stage, and she says she predicted the ultimate win by Canadian team smartARM beforehand.
We caught up with her after the event to get her take on the student projects and the future of tech. The conversation is edited for length and clarity.
I just wanted to get your impression of today. What’d you think? What’d you think of the projects? Super rad. Really cool inventions, I think it’s so rad that Microsoft’s letting these people come and show off what they’ve done, giving them that drive to go make something really rad and help out the world society.
What was your favorite one? Oh, I loved all of them. I actually called it on the smartARM, yeah, I was like that’s going to win, I mean it’s amazing. This morning, when they were first presenting, I was like that’s the one.
What made you think that they’d win? I feel like it’s just a really big thing that’s happening in the world, it’s very common. And it’s cool that they came up with a solution that makes sense and it makes it easier. It just made sense.
Did you have time to chat with Satya before? A little bit. He’s really cool. We just talked about what we were going to talk about on stage. That was about it.
Do you use any particular tech when you’re training? Or in daily life? My phone. I have an iPhone X right now. I listen to music when I snowboard. Earbuds, like bluetooth earbuds.
Quick fire round of tech questions: iPhone or Android? iPhone.
Mac or Windows? I have a Mac right now.
Snapchat or Instagram? Instagram.
Facebook or Twitter? Twitter. I don’t use Facebook anymore.
Does anyone? My mom does. But she likes to watch videos of dogs.
What do you think of artificial intelligence? We saw a lot of that in all of the projects today, do you think there’s going to be a future in it? Do you think you’ll compete against robots someday? I mean, I don’t think so. I don’t think we’ll get that far where we have to compete against robots who can’t feel pain. Because that wouldn’t be fair. It’s like oh, he broke his arm, let’s just give him a new one.
But would you? There’s people who play chess — that’s different, obviously — but there’s people who play chess and go against these robots. I mean we already do that, kind of. I mean you can kind of play a game of chess online against a computer, and you’re just bringing it to life and it’s going to be there, physically. I think that’s really cool. Although, people are kind of paranoid about them taking over, but I don’t think it’ll get to that point.