Ex-Google CEO says AI represents existential risk that could kill humans


Former Google CEO said that AI could pose an "existential risk" that could put the lives of many people in danger or even get them killed.


Former chief executive officer of Google Eric Schmidt is the latest visionary to issue a warning against the dangers of Artificial Intelligence (AI). He said that AI could pose an “existential risk” that could put the lives of many people in danger or even get them killed. Also Read - YouTube Music may soon get a new Samples tab: Here's what it does

Speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit, Schmidt outlined that while the threat is not serious currently, AI could be instrumental in spotting security flaws in software or new biology types. Whenever that happens, it will become important to ensure that AI-powered applications “are not misused by evil people.” Also Read - Google, European Union to create voluntary AI pact ahead of new regulations in Europe

“There are scenarios, not today, but reasonably soon, where these systems will be able to find zero-day exploits in cyber issues or discover new kinds of biology. Now this is fiction today, but its reasoning is likely to be true. And when that happens, we want to be ready to know how to make sure these things are not misused by evil people,” CNBC quoted Schmidt as saying. Also Read - Google introduces Product Studio to help merchants create product images using AI

Zero-day exploits refer to security flaws that hackers discover in software and systems to prevent them from potential misuse.

Even though Schmidt is concerned about AI-related dangers, he does not have a concrete solution for regulating AI. But he said that it is a “broader question for society.” He also believes that there won’t be a regulator specifically to control AI in the US. Schmidt participated in a National Security Commission on AI that gave their observations in a report outlining that the US was not ready for regulating AI.

Schmidt, who was Google’s CEO from 2001 to 2011, is not the first tech luminary who is concerned about where AI advancements are headed. Before him, Sam Altman, who is the chief executive of Microsoft-backed OpenAI which developed ChatGPT, previously admitted that he is a “little bit scared” of AI. He said he is concerned about AI technologies in development by authoritarian governments across the world.

ChatGPT has emerged as the pioneer in the field of conversational and generative AI. But it has also sparked a debate on what the future of AI would look like and how it would be regulated. To catch up with ChatGPT, companies such as Google are striving hard to make their own generative AI popular. That has just made the race more aggressive. Even though the current implementation of AI is mostly utilitarian, several governments and institutions are not in favour of the use of AI.

  • Published Date: May 25, 2023 2:44 PM IST
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