Why Google wants to put intelligent robots on a leash

Sundar Pichai

Google chief executive Sundar Pichai. Source: Nguyen Hung Vu.

Sundar Pichai, the new chief executive of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has called for industry and government regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) in an opinion piece for The Financial Times.

Pichai wants tech companies and world leaders to create “appropriate new rules” and extend existing frameworks as artificial intelligence continues to create “inevitable” challenges — such as misinformation — as it evolves.

“There is no question in my mind that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated. It is too important not to,” Pichai said.

“The only question is how to approach it.

“Sensible regulation must also take a proportionate approach, balancing potential harms, especially in high-risk areas, with social opportunities,” he added.

The op-ed follows Facebook’s new ban on manipulated videos (read: deepfake) and a leak last week that exposed thousands of Chinese students’ data from facial recognition software.

Notably, Google — one of the world’s largest machine learning companies —  has recently been accused of sharing users’ personal data with advertisers in Ireland, and is facing a federal inquiry in the United States for its healthcare-data-gathering techniques.

“AI has the potential to improve billions of lives, and the biggest risk may be failing to do so,” Pichai said.

“It is my privilege to help to shape new technologies that we hope will be life-changing for people everywhere.

“Yet history is full of examples of how technology’s virtues aren’t guaranteed.”

However, Pichai took care in describing the role of government regulation, saying it should act as a “foundation” and “broad guidance”.

He added the “right tools” should reflect Google’s 2018 framework, including scalable “guiding principles and rigorous review processes”.

“Principles that remain on paper are meaningless,” he said.

NOW READ: As the ACCC drags Google to court, should Aussie startups be taking notes?

NOW READ: Why artificial intelligence in Australia needs to get ethical

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stephen connell
stephen connell
9 months ago

I tend to think you need to watch Human actions more than AI’s as It is the Human interface where most of the problem’s occur and It is worth remembering that the problems associated with Facebook’s use of AI is Human driven not the machine alone initiating the questionable Data gathering. Separating Science Fiction from Science Fact is something regulators will have to mindful of.