CEO Sundar Pichai says Google cares deeply about responsible AI

Priya Walia

Sundar Pichai in court

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As concerns over the safety of rapidly advancing technology continue to mount, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai has reaffirmed the company’s unwavering commitment to the responsible development of artificial intelligence (AI). Pichai, who assumed the CEO position in 2015, recently shared his optimism about the future of AI in a Financial Times article, citing it as the most significant technology being pursued by humanity.

Despite this, Pichai acknowledged the risk that some companies prioritize being first movers in the field over ensuring safety, and ethical considerations are thoroughly addressed.

“While some have tried to reduce this moment to just a competitive AI race, we see it as so much more than that,” said the CEO.

Pichai underscored Google’s decade-long initiative of integrating AI into its products and services to enhance users’ experience. The tech giant’s commitment to this cause is profound. Nonetheless, he stressed that the greater importance is the responsible development of AI and its societal implications. Pichai cited an instance of how Google’s AI technology has facilitated European drivers in finding more fuel-efficient routes via its applications, such as Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Search.
“These advances mean that drivers across Europe can now find more fuel-efficient routes; tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees are helped to communicate in their new homes; flood forecasting tools are able to predict floods further in advance. Google DeepMind’s work on AlphaFold, in collaboration with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, resulted in a groundbreaking understanding of over 200mn cataloged proteins known to science, opening up new healthcare possibilities,” he noted.
He also referred to Google’s AI principles that were published in 2018, emphasizing the company’s commitment to responsibly developing technology to avoid any negative impact on society. He further stated that the regulation of AI is crucial and must be done effectively. Pichai also held talks on AI safety with Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House, where he was joined by prominent AI firms such as Microsoft, OpenAI, and Anthropic. Google launched its latest AI chatbot, Bard, in March.