A current-generation iPhone is 1,300 times more powerful than the computer that powered the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, he noted.
"By 2029, we will have computers as smart as a human brain," he said. "By 2050, computers will be 50 times smarter than the human brain. We need to understand that.
"For the first time ever, computers will give us back time," Mr. Chaniot said. "How do we take advantage of this, instead of being afraid?"
Michelin is proposing what it believes is a better way forward, according to Mr. Chaniot.
"If people can move, things will get better," he said. "We now realize that all mobility services have a digital part, and Silicon Valley is super-focused on customer experience.
"Tires have evolved as travelers' needs have evolved," he said. "We want to make sure we have the full level of control over the full life of a tire."
Hybrid and electric vehicles have a role to play in this effort, as does rolling resistance, according to Mr. Chaniot. "Lowering rolling resistance while keeping the same level of safety is a big deal," he said.
Among other ventures, Michelin recently equipped 200 buses in Venice, Italy, with radio frequency identification (RFID).
"This solution can read tire pressures and identify which tires need maintenance," he said.
Soon Michelin hopes to add RFID to all 600 buses in the Venice fleet, according to Mr. Chaniot.
"We are no longer just a vendor, but the provider of a solution," he said.
Managing IT is crucial for tire makers going forward, according to Mr. Chaniot.
"In 10 years, 40 to 50 percent of big companies will be irrelevant," he said. "If we don't want to become irrelevant, we must become technology companies."
Listening to tires
Connected tires are building blocks that will lead to the AVs of the future, according to Continental's Mr. Spears.