Artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming the ‘next big thing’ in the technology industry, with ramifications that are only now being discovered. At least one Silicon Valley giant believes the development of AI needs to be further regulated.
In an op-ed for the Financial Times, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai lays out the case for stricter regulation over the development of AI. Pichai starts out citing examples of how Google’s AI developments are helping industries, including improving breast cancer screenings, weather forecasting and the company’s latest deal with Lufthansa to reduce the impact of flight delays.
Pichai then highlights the potential dangers of burgeoning technology, technology that can do a lot of good but also be used to cause tremendous harm. In the realm of AI, he cites deepfakes as an example. Deepfakes are a type of AI-assisted photo and video manipulation designed to make it appear as if someone has said or done something they haven’t by transposing their face or head onto another person’s body. Companies such as Facebook and Reddit have taken measures to minimize the damage deepfakes can do, but experts fear the worst is yet to come as the technology matures and advances.
As a result of the potential for AI to be used improperly or dangerously, Pichai outlines Google’s stand, including emphasizing the importance of companies taking responsibility for the technology they create, market and benefit from. Rather than simply opening Pandora’s Box and leaving others to sort out the mess, Pichai says companies have the responsibility to make sure the technology they create is used for good.
“Now there is no question in my mind that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated,” Pichai writes. “It is too important not to.”
The CEO goes on to highlight the European Union’s GDPR privacy laws as a “strong foundation” for future regulation. Given that Google has often been accused of not respecting user privacy, it’s encouraging to see Pichai cite one of the most comprehensive privacy regulations as a template for moving forward.
All in all, Pichai’s op-end is a fascinating insight into the thoughts of one of the individuals who has a tremendous influence over the future of AI and well worth a read in its entirety at the Financial Times.