Davos, Jan 22: Alphabet chief executive Sundar Pichai on Wednesday stressed the need to regulate Artificial Intelligence and said that his company is working on how technology can improve people's lives further into the future.
"AI is one of the most profound things we are working on as humanity; it’s more profound than fire or electricity or any of the other bigger things we have worked on. It has tremendous positive sides to it, but it has real negative consequences,” he said.
Speaking on artificial intelligence and the future of technology governance at the World Economic Forum, he said, "I’m clear-eyed about the risks of technology, but the risk of AI is failing to work on it, because it can affect billions of people."
About addressing the challenges of regulating AI, Pichai said: "AI is no different from climate - you can’t get safety by just one company or country working on it - you need a global framework."
And he is optimistic that all countries will cooperate in such a framework.
"I think there will be common gravitational pull - regardless of who you are," he said, because people will recognise the need of such a framework for the sake of peace and prosperity.
Pichai said he is a technology optimist, having experienced firsthand the benefits new technology brought to his own life while growing up.
"Growing up, I had to wait for either a telephone or a television and each time these things came to my home I realised what an important role technology plays in our lives."
Pichai also said he is clear-eyed about the risks of technology and added that data sovereignty is important for every country and that needs to be taken into account in any data protection framework in any part of the world.
Asked whether there is a risk that Google may become too powerful, he said, "with our scale rightly comes scrutiny. Yes, we’ve bought start-ups - but we also invest every year in hundreds of start ups through our venture arms.
"We will do well only if others do well alongside us."
About Google's future plans, he said Alphabet had the flexibility to have different structures to allow it to take a long-term view. (UNI)