Jan 20, 2020 - Technology

Google CEO calls for balanced regulations on artificial intelligence

Pichai himself

Photo: Carsten Koall/Getty Images.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is calling for regulations on artificial intelligence, warning that the technology can bring both positive and negative consequences, AP reports.

Why it matters: Lawmakers are largely scrambling to play catch-up on AI regulation as the technology continues to grow. Pichai did not provide specific proposals, but did urge while speaking at the Bruegel European economic think tank Monday that "international alignment" between the United States and the European Union will help ensure AI is used primarily for good.

  • Pichai also delivered his thoughts on the matter in an op-ed in the Financial Times Sunday, writing: "There are real concerns about the potential negative consequences of AI, from deepfakes to nefarious uses of facial recognition. While there is already some work being done to address these concerns, there will inevitably be more challenges ahead that no one company or industry can solve alone."

Our thought bubble: It’s not just industry; the U.S. government is also urging transatlantic consensus on AI regulation. That would deliver a unified counter to China’s authoritarian use of the technology. But it would also ensure Europe doesn’t charge ahead with more stringent AI regulation than Silicon Valley is prepared to accept. The EU already went it alone with its own firm privacy rules.

Flashback: Google has long grappled with the nuances of AI and government. The company in 2018 announced it wouldn’t re-up a controversial Pentagon contract to use AI to analyze drone footage, citing a conflict with its own principles on the tech.

The bottom line: The age of Silicon Valley regulating itself is over. The industry is now working to take as central a role as possible in shaping the laws that are likely coming.

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