‘Simply benefit China,’ ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt rejects AI research pause


Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has rejected the idea of pausing research on artificial intelligence saying it would end up giving an advantage to competitors in China. More than 1,000 researchers had called for a pause on research on AI systems with ‘human-competitive intelligence’ saying it could pose profound risks to society and humanity.

In an interview with Australian Financial Review, Schmidt said a six-month pause on the development of artificial intelligence systems would end up ‘simply benefitting China’. 

“China is very smart, they know what they are doing. We need to get our act together,” Schmidt added

The former Google CEO admitted there were legitimate issues about the speed of research into Artificial intelligence was done. Schmidt, however, wants tech companies to come together and set standards or ‘guardrails’ for their AI systems.

He says that companies should not release advanced versions without mitigating some of the negative effects that their system could bring.

This is not the first time Schmidt has warned about the dangers of artificial intelligence.

In an interview, he had explained how the new artificial intelligence systems powered by large language models could be used negatively to create bioweapons, cyberattacks, and even manipulate politics.

A letter signed by more than 1,000 experts, including Twitter CEO Elon Musk, had called for a six-month pause in research into advanced AI systems, citing risks such as the spread of propaganda, job losses and the development of technology that could eventually outsmart and replace humans.

The letter read, “Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned for and managed with commensurate care and resources. Unfortunately, this level of planning and management is not happening, even though recent months have seen AI labs locked in an out-of-control race to develop and deploy ever more powerful digital minds that no one – not even their creators – can understand, predict, or reliably control.”

Generative AI-based chatbots have been all the rage these days since ChatGPT launched last November. Since then, OpenAI has released its next-generation language model called GPT-4, which is said to be even more accurate, reliable, and nuanced in understanding complex inputs. Meanwhile, Microsoft has used GPT-4 to power its new Bing search, while Google is trying to catch up with the public release of its experimental Bard chatbot.

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