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Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, says AI fears are ‘very legitimate’

connectVideoGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai of the hearing of the highlights are: the Political bias

Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai said last week that the concerns about the harmful applications of artificial intelligence “very legitimate.”

In a Washington Post interview, Pichai said that AI tools should be ethical and will require companies to think deeply about how technology can be abused.

“I think that tech has to realize that it can’t just build and then fix it,” Pichai, fresh from his testimony before House lawmakers, said. “I don’t think that works.”

Tech giants have to make sure artificial intelligence is the “agency of its own” brings no harm to humanity, Pichai noted.

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The tech executive, who runs a company that makes use of AI in many of its products, including the powerful search engine, said he is optimistic about the technology on the long-term benefits, but his assessment of the AI’s potential drawbacks, parallels that of critics who have warned about the potential for abuse and ill-treatment.

Lawyers and technologists are warning about the power of AI to encourage authoritarian regimes, empower mass surveillance and the spread of misinformation, among other possibilities.

SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk has said that the AI could turn out to be “much more dangerous than nuclear weapons.”

Google’s work on Project Maven, a military AI program, led to a protest by its employees and has led the tech giant to announce that it will not continue to work when the contract expires in 2019.

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Pichai said in the interview that governments across the world are still trying to understand the AI of the effects and the possible need for regulation.

“Sometimes people underestimate the extent of the change that is possible in the medium – and long-term, and I think that the questions are actually quite complex,” he told the Post. Other tech companies, like Microsoft, have embraced regulation of AI — both by the companies that create the technology and the governments that oversee the use.

Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai to appear before the House Judiciary Committee to be questioned about the internet giant’s privacy the safety and the collection of data, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2018.
(AP)

But AI, if handled properly, the “huge benefits,” Pichai explained, including doctors, to help detect eye disease and other conditions by means of automatic scans of medical data.

“Regulating of technology in the beginning is difficult, but I think that companies should self-regulate,” he told the newspaper. “This is why we have tried hard to formulate a set of AI principles. We may not have gotten everything right, but we thought it was important to start a conversation.”

Pichai, who joined Google in 2004 and was appointed as chief executive 11 years later, in January called AI “one of the most important things that the mankind progress” and said that it could turn out to be “deeper” for the human society than “electricity or fire.”

However, the race to build machines that can operate on their own again has the fear that Silicon Valley’s culture of disruption could result in a technology that is harmful to people, and eliminates jobs.

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