Google CEO Warns Against Aggressive AI Regulation

Google Chief: Politicians Should Be Cautious About AI Regulation

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said politicians should take a measured approach when thinking about regulating artificial intelligence (AI), and that many of the rules already in place would work for legislating the new technology.

The Financial Times reported Pichai saying that what was needed was “smart regulation,” one that found a middle ground between the protection of citizens and not stifling potential innovation. 

The tech giant is reportedly trying to get ahead of the AI issue, before it becomes notorious like the antitrust issues Google is currently dealing with from regulators across the globe. Pichai said he wants to have a “partnership between government and businesses.”

Pichai said governments could look at laws already on the books “rather than assuming that everything you have to do is new.”

He was speaking after meeting with a group of European politicians that included the prime minister of Finland, Antti Rinne. Pichai announced a number of new Google initiatives, including clean energy deals, billions in investments for data centers across Europe and a grant to train workers in digital enterprises.

New regulations should be put into place for specific sectors and fields, he said, instead of a catch-all series of algorithms.

“It is such a broad cross-cutting technology, so it’s important to look at [regulation] more in certain vertical situations,” Pichai said. “There are areas where we need to do the research before we know what are the right kinds of approaches we need to take. Rather than rushing into it in a way that prevents innovation and research, you actually need to solve some of the difficult problems.”

Pichai said he wants to get in front of an AI crackdown.

“We are for sure definitely approaching things more deliberately than before,” he said. “Over the past few years, all of us have learnt that technology can have unintended consequences.”