Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said he sees “existential risks” with artificial intelligence as the technology advances.
Artificial intelligence could pose existential risks and governments need to know how to make sure the technology is not “misused by evil people,” former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt warned on Wednesday.
The future of AI has become at the center of conversations between technologists and policymakers grappling with what the technology looks like in the future and how it should be regulated.
ChatGPT, the chatbot that went viral last year, has arguably brought more awareness to AI as major companies around the world look to launch rival products and talk about their AI capabilities.
Speaking at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council Summit in London, Schmidt said his concern is that AI is an “existential risk.”
“And existential risk is defined as many, many, many, many people getting hurt or killed,” Schmidt said.
“There are scenarios not today, but reasonably soon, where these systems will be able to encounter zero-day cybersecurity exploits.” or discover new kinds of biology. Now this is fiction today, but his reasoning is likely true. And when that happens, we want to be prepared to know how to make sure these things aren’t misused by evil people.”
Zero-day exploits are security vulnerabilities found by hackers in software and systems.
Schmidt, who was Google’s CEO from 2001 to 2011, did not have a clear vision of how AI should be regulated, but said it is a “broader issue for society.” However, he said a new regulatory agency dedicated to regulating AI is unlikely to be established in the US.
Schmidt is not the first major tech figure to warn of the risks of AI.
Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI that developed ChatGPT, admitted in March that he is “a little scared” of artificial intelligence. He said that he is concerned that authoritarian governments develop the technology,
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said in the past that he believes AI poses one of the “biggest risks” to civilization.
Even the current Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, who recently oversaw the company’s launch of its own chatbot called Bard AI, said the technology “will affect all products across all companies,” adding that society must prepare for the changes.
Schmidt was part of the US Homeland Security Commission on AI, which in 2019 began a review of the technology, including a potential regulatory framework. The commission published its review in 2021, warning that the US was not ready for the AI era.