Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai believes AI needs to be regulated

With AI becoming an ever larger part of our lives (even where we don’t realise), opinions are extremely varied about the dangers associated with it. Some believe it won’t be a bother as we control it and can always unplug it, so to speak. Others think that AI will be the end of us all. Naturally there is a middle ground as well, which seems to be where Sundar Pichai sits.

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The Alphabet and former Google CEO highlights possible risks that can stem from careless use of AI, but also calls AI “one of the most promising new technologies.” Speaking to the Financial Times he named a couple of examples from history where new tech also brought new problems.

“History is full of examples of how technology’s virtues aren’t guaranteed,” he said. “The internet made it possible to connect with anyone and get information from anywhere, but also easier for misinformation to spread.”

With the improvements and benefits that artificial intelligence brings, allowed to be used unchecked can lead to nefarious players misusing it, which is a fair argument.

“The EU and the U.S. are already starting to develop regulatory proposals. International alignment will be critical to making global standards work. To get there, we need agreement on core values,” he said.

Of course, Google is one of the leading players in the world when it comes to research in AI. Their internal principles, which was published in 2018, could help build a fair, universal regulatory framework, according to Pichai. The company also released open source tools which can test whether decisions made by any prospective AI conforms to such a framework. Google have invested in AI projects such as a breast cancer screening program and AI system for local weather forecasting.

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Google and Pichai aren’t alone in wanting universal regulations for AI. Other big corporates have voices similar concerns, like Facebook and Tesla, to name a few. Elon Musk has been calling for regulation for several years now, saying that “it is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.”