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AI is too important to not be regulated, says Google CEO

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Jenna Delport
Jenna Delport
I’m a tech writer, world traveller, avocado-eater and dog lover, not always in that order.

Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai says that Artificial Intelligence (AI) could cause unthinkable damage if left unchecked – that’s why it is so important it’s regulated. In a letter penned to the Finacial Times, he explains how AI can potentially save lives, but in the wrong hands, it could be a huge danger to public safety.

“Growing up in India, I was fascinated by technology. Each new invention changed my family’s life in meaningful ways. The telephone saved us long trips to the hospital for test results. The refrigerator meant we could spend less time preparing meals, and television allowed us to see the world news and cricket matches we had only imagined while listening to the shortwave radio,” he wrote.

Pichai believes that it is his “privilege to help to shape new technologies” that will one day be a game-changer for people all over the world, and that AI is currently the most promising tech to make change a reality. However, he notes that in the wrong hands, it could be devastating.

“History is full of examples of how technology’s virtues aren’t guaranteed. Internal combustion engines allowed people to travel beyond their own areas but also caused more accidents. The Internet made it possible to connect with anyone and get information from anywhere, but also easier for misinformation to spread.”

“International alignment will be critical to making global standards work. To get there, we need agreement on core values. Companies such as ours cannot just build promising new technology and let market forces decide how it will be used. It is equally incumbent on us to make sure that technology is harnessed for good and available to everyone.”

“AI has the potential to improve billions of lives, and the biggest risk may be failing to do so. By ensuring it is developed responsibly in a way that benefits everyone, we can inspire future generations to believe in the power of technology as much as I do,” he concluded.

Edited by Jenna Delport

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