AI could endanger humanity in 5-10 years: Former Google CEO warns

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By Carina

Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, voiced serious concerns about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence (AI), warning that it could threaten humanity within the next five to 10 years.

 As reported by Axios on Tuesday, Schmidt’s remarks were made at Axios’s AI+ Summit, where he drew a parallel between the development of AI and the advent of nuclear weapons after World War II.

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Schmidt warns of imminent AI threats, urges swift action

He highlighted the situation’s urgency, noting that it took 18 years to establish a nuclear test ban treaty post-Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but “we don’t have that kind of time today.”

Schmidt pinpointed the moment AI becomes a threat: when computers begin making autonomous decisions, potentially in areas like weaponry.

He emphasized the rapid acceleration of AI technology, recalling that just two years ago, experts predicted a 20-year timeline for AI to become a potential threat to humanity.

Now, that estimation has been drastically reduced to as little as two to four years.

Schmidt advocates for global AI oversight body, highlights AI’s benefits

To mitigate these risks, Schmidt proposed the creation of a global body akin to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This entity would provide policymakers with accurate information to comprehend the urgency of AI’s potential dangers.

Despite these grave warnings, Schmidt remains optimistic about AI’s benefits.

He challenged skeptics by citing examples of AI in healthcare and education, stating, “I defy you to argue that an AI doctor or an AI tutor is a negative. It’s got to be good for the world.”

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Biden’s AI executive order: Focusing on safety, worker rights

These concerns come in the wake of President Biden signing a comprehensive executive order on AI, which encompasses numerous new actions aimed at ensuring security, privacy, and worker protection in the AI domain.

This order mandates companies to develop models addressing national security, economic security, and public health security threats posed by AI.

Additionally, it directs the Commerce Department to provide guidelines for AI-generated content and instructs federal agencies on preserving data privacy in AI systems.

The executive order also focuses on protecting workers, emphasizing the need to minimize harm and maximize the benefits AI can offer employees.

Addressing accelerating AI development, impact of AI tools

This initiative is part of a broader effort to keep pace with the rapidly evolving AI landscape, as evidenced by Google’s release of its AI tool Bard, a competitor to OpenAI’s popular ChatGPT.

Schmidt’s warnings, coupled with the recent executive order, underscore the fast-paced development of AI and the growing accessibility and popularity of AI tools among users.

His call for urgent action reflects a growing consensus among experts and policymakers on the need for proactive measures to ensure AI’s development is aligned with humanity’s best interests.

Schmidt’s perspective at Axios AI+ Summit on AI progress, risks

Schmidt’s comments at the Axios AI+ Summit highlight the dual nature of AI as a tool for progress and a potential threat.

His comparison of AI to nuclear weapons underscores the critical need for global cooperation and swift action to manage AI’s risks while harnessing its vast potential for the betterment of society.

As AI advances, the balance between innovation and safety will remain a pivotal focus for leaders and technologists worldwide.

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