In his latest open letter, Google co-founder Sergey Brin touted the possibilities introduced by way of artificial intelligence (AI), but also noted the potential dangers of the technology.
In his founder’s letter, Brin said that AI is the “most significant development in computing in my lifetime,” and that to date it has manifested in a huge number of applications. For instance, thanks to AI, Google can understand images in Google Photos, enable self-driving cars to recognize and avoid objects, improve the sound quality on cameras and other hardware, design devices that can translate more than 100 languages, suggest short replies in emails and much more.
“Every month, there are stunning new applications and transformative new techniques. In this sense, we are truly in a technology renaissance, an exciting time where we can see applications across nearly every segment of modern society,” wrote Brin.
Still, he pointed out that with these new tools come new questions to consider, such as how AI will impact employment across different sectors, whether we understand what’s going on under the hood with these systems and whether are they safe.
“There is serious thought and research going into all of these issues. Most notably, safety spans a wide range of concerns, from the fears of sci-fi style sentience to the more near-term questions, such as validating the performance of self-driving cars,” wrote Brin, noting that Google is already involved in AI safety initiatives. For example, he said the company is focused on bringing “precision” to the AI safety discussions, with an emphasis on the ethics and societal impact of AI.
“I expect machine learning technology to continue to evolve rapidly and for Alphabet to continue to be a leader — in both the technological and ethical evolution of the field,” he wrote.