Speaking to The Washington Post, Google's CEO Sundar Pichai addressed concerns about AI, confirming that fears about the harmful applications of the technology are "very legitimate" and called for regulation of the technology.
New AI tools, such as driverless cars and disease-detecting algorithms, require a set of "ethical guardrails" to think through exactly how the technology could be abused and highlighted the importance to set guidelines, Pichai suggested. "I think tech has to realize it just can't build it and then fix it, I think that doesn't work," he added.
He also warned against companies creating AI which has agency of its own or has the potential to harm mankind.
Visit DATAx Singapore on March 5–6, 2019
However, unlike critics such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk – who recently compared AI technology to nuclear bombs –, Pichai spoke optimistically about AI's long-term benefits. Google is one of the leading AI companies and it utilizes the technology across a range of its projects, ranging from its YouTube subsidiary to its initiatives to respond to natural emergencies.
"Regulating a technology in its early days is hard, but I do think companies should self-regulate," he said. "This is why we've tried hard to articulate a set of AI principles. We may not have gotten everything right, but we thought it was important to start a conversation."
Pichai's calls for regulation followed his testimony in Congress on December 11 where he addressed lawmakers threatening to impose limits on technology to curb its misuse.