Google CEO Sundar Pichai says he’s ‘jealous’ of Jeff Bezos’ upcoming space flight

Tim Cook Jeff Bezos Sundar Pichai 2X1
Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said he’s jealous of Jeff Bezos’ upcoming space flight. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty/AP Photo/Charles Krupa/Denis Balibouse/Reuters
  • Google’s chief exec says he’s jealous of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ upcoming flight into space.
  • Sundar Pichai admitted he was envious of his fellow tech titan in a sit-down interview with the BBC.
  • Pichai also revealed he speaks with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ‘as and when’ he needs to.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has admitted he feels a little “jealous” of fellow tech titan Jeff Bezos’ much-anticipated space flight.

The Amazon founder and his brother, Mark Bezos, plan to fly on the first human flight of the New Shepard spacecraft, designed by Jeff’s space-exploration company, Blue Origin. Bidding for one of six seats on the ship reached almost $30 million, with nearly 6,000 participants from 143 countries.

The planned 11-minute trip is the company’s first scheduled space-tourism flight, set to blast the crew 100km above the Earth’s surface. Bezos founded Blue Origin in 2000, and he said in a 2018 interview that it was his “most important work.”

Separately, Virgin Galactic flew its first full crew, including founder Richard Branson, to the edge of space on Sunday.

In a sit-down interview with BBC journalist Amol Rajan, Google’s chief exec said he envied Bezos’ plans.

“Well, I’m jealous, a bit,” he said. “I would love to look at Earth from space.”

The comment came as part of a wide-ranging conversation with Rajan, in which Pichai described artificial intelligence as “the most profound technology that humanity will ever develop and work on,” adding: “If you think about fire or electricity or the internet, it’s like that. But I think even more profound.”

Asked when he last cried, Pichai – who was raised in the Tamil Nadu region of India – said: “Seeing the morgue trucks parked around the world during COVID. And seeing what’s happened in India over the past month.”

India’s coronavirus death toll officially topped 400,000 last week, and the country’s inability to get to grips with the virus made headlines globally through April and May.

Pichai also warned of threats to online freedom, revealed he currently drives a Tesla, and said he wished he had met Stephen Hawking before he died.

Asked how often he speaks with one of his major rivals, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Pichai said: “You know, as and when … There’s no periodicity to it. As and when needed.”

The full interview is available now via BBC Sounds.

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