says former Google CEO Eric Schmidt

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said he sees “existential risks” with artificial intelligence as the technology gets more advanced.

Lucas Schulz | math file | Getty Images

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt warned on Wednesday that artificial intelligence could pose “existential risks” and that governments need to figure out how to make sure the technology isn’t “misused by the bad guys.”

The future of artificial intelligence has been pushed to the center of conversations among technologists and policymakers grappling with what the technology looks like moving forward and how it should be regulated.

It can be said that ChatGPT, the chatbot that went viral in the last year, has sparked greater awareness of AI as major companies around the world are looking to launch competing 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 represents an “existential risk.”

“Existential danger is defined as the many, many, many, many people who get hurt or killed,” Schmidt said.

“No scenarios today, but reasonably soon, where these systems will be able to detect zero-day vulnerabilities in the Internet Or the discovery of new types of biology. Now, that’s today’s fantasy, but his reasoning is likely correct. And when that happens, we want to be ready to figure out how to make sure these things don’t get misused by the bad guys.”

Zero-day vulnerabilities are security holes discovered by hackers in software and systems.

Schmidt, who was CEO of Google from 2001 to 2011, didn’t have a clear vision of how AI should be regulated, but said it was “a broader question for society.” However, he said it is unlikely that there will be a new regulatory agency created in the US dedicated to regulating AI.

Schmidt is not the first major tech figure to warn of the dangers of artificial intelligence.

Sam Altman, CEO of Open AI that developed ChatGPT, admitted in March that he was “a little afraid” of AI. He said he was worried about authoritarian governments developing the technology,

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said in the past that he believes AI poses one of the “greatest risks” to civilization.

Even current google and the alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, who recently oversaw the company’s launch of its chatbot called Bard AI, said the technology will “impact every product in every company,” adding that society needs to prepare for the changes.

Schmidt was part of the US Artificial Intelligence National Security Committee which in 2019 began reviewing the technology, including a potential regulatory framework. The committee published its review in 2021, warning that the United States is not ready for the age of artificial intelligence.

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