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EU Legislators Call for ‘safe’ AI as Google’s CEO Cautions on Rapid Development

A dozen European Union (EU) lawmakers have signed a letter urging the “safe” development of artificial intelligence (AI), as Google’s CEO warns against unleashing strong AI technology before humanity has had time to adapt. Dragoș Tudorache, an EU Parliament member, advocated for a joint effort and a uniform set of norms for AI research in an open letter released on Twitter on April 16.

Tudorache, along with 11 other EU lawmakers identified in the letter, requested European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and US President Joe Biden to host an AI conference and agree on a set of regulatory principles for the technology’s development, control, and implementation.

“Recent advances in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) have demonstrated that the speed of technological progress is faster and more unpredictable than policymakers around the world anticipated,” according to the letter. “We’re moving very quickly.”

The letter also requests that the Trade and Technology Council (TTC), a forum for the United States and the European Union to coordinate approaches to economic and technological issues, agree on a preliminary agenda for the proposed AI summit and that companies and countries worldwide “strive for an ever-increasing sense of responsibility” while developing AI.

“Our message to industry, researchers, and decision-makers in Europe and around the world is that the development of very powerful artificial intelligence demonstrates the importance of paying attention and exercising caution.” “We can steer history in the right direction if we work together,” the letter concluded. In an April 16 interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes, Google CEO Pichai Sundararajan, better known as Sundar Pichai, expressed concern about the rapid growth of AI, suggesting that society may require time to adjust to the new technology.

“You don’t want to release a technology like this when it’s extremely powerful because it doesn’t give society time to adapt.” “I believe that’s one reasonable point of view,” he remarked. “There appears to be a mismatch between the rate at which we can think and adapt as social institutions and the rate at which technology evolves,” he continued.

However, Pichai also stated that, while there are reasons to be concerned, he is “optimistic” about the consequences of AI thus early in its life cycle when compared to comparable technological developments in the past. “I think there are responsible people there trying to figure out how to approach this technology, and so are we,” he added.

With its Artificial Intelligence Act, the European Union is already looking into AI, and the European Data Protection Board has formed a task force for the generative AI chatbot ChatGPT. The petition from EU lawmakers mirrors the worries expressed by over 2,600 tech CEOs and researchers who urged for a temporary halt to further AI development, citing “profound risks to society and humanity.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and other AI CEOs, CTOs, and researchers signed the letter, which was released on March 22 by the United States think tank Future of Life Institute (FOLI).


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