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Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt says those in AI industry have to ‘make sure’ the technology ‘doesn’t harm but just helps’

google eric schmidtEric Schmidt , former chairman and CEO at GOOGLE visits Fox Business Network Studios on April 16, 2019 in New York City.

John Lamparski/Getty Images

  • AI Technology has advanced rapidly and gained popularity in recent years. 
  • Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt told ABC News the technology has promise, but there are concerns.
  • He said the industry has to work to find “guardrails” to prevent negative impacts on democracy. 

Former Google CEO and Chairman Eric Schmidt said there are many advantages to AI technology, which has been expanding rapidly, but the industry has to ensure the technology “doesn’t harm but just helps.”

“Well, imagine a world where you have an AI doctor that makes everyone healthier in the whole world; imagine a world where you have an AI tutor that increases the educational capability of everyone in every language globally,” Schmidt told ABC “This Week” host George Stephanopoulos on Sunday.

“These are remarkable. And these technologies, which are generally known as large language models, are clearly going to do this.” 

He continued: “But, at the same time, we face extraordinary new challenges from these things, whether it’s the deepfakes that you’ve discussed, or what happens when people fall in love with their AI tutor?”

—This Week (@ThisWeekABC) April 2, 2023


AI technology has come under increased scrutiny over the past year as different software is rolled out, such as ChatGPT — a bot that is powered by large amounts of data and algorithms so it can string words together in response to prompts, Insider previously reported. 

Although much of the technology’s abilities have been lauded, some industry leaders and experts have called for a pause on the technology over concerns about the spread of misinformation, the automation of human jobs, and the threats of deepfakes

Schmidt, who was Google’s CEO from 2001 to 2011 and the company’s executive chairman from 2011 to 2015, laid out the promise and peril of AI technology during the interview. 

Schmidt said he’s concerned about how AI can be used in “biology, or in cyberattacks, or in that sort of thing, and especially in manipulating the way the body politic works, and in particular how democracies work.”

He noted that ChatGPT had acquired 100 million users in just two months, compared to Gmail which took five years to gain that many users. 

Schmidt, who also served as executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc. from 2015 to 2017, noted that technology can have a disadvantageous impact on democracy, particularly since people are taught to believe what they see and hear, and AI technology can produce very realistic-looking images that can cause misinformation to spread rapidly.

The tech leader said the entire industry needs to come together to figure out appropriate “guardrails” because the technology is only going to get bigger. 

“Everyone’s focused on bias, which is certainly a problem, and it’s being worked on. But the real problem is that when these systems are used to manipulate people’s day-to-day lives, literally the way they think, what they choose and so forth, it affects how democracies work,” Schmidt said. 

Read the original article on Business Insider
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