“AI is a unique opportunity to achieve our climate goals”, says Google boss

By Richard Flurin



Indian-American Sundar Pichai has been running Alphabet, Google’s parent company, since 2019. CLAUDIO BRESCIANI / AFP

In a column published in the FinancialTimesSundar Pichai defends an optimistic vision of artificial intelligence, while Brussels is considering regulating its uses.

Technological progress cannot be dissociated from the imagination that it conveys. The CEO of Alphabet, parent company of Google, the Indian-American Sundar Pichai, knows something about it. When he takes up the pen to defend his vision of artificial intelligence in the FinancialTimes this week, he naturally begins by noting that “this year, generative artificial intelligence has captured the imagination of the world“. A thinly veiled reference to the ChatGPT tool, which reached the milestone of 100 million users in just 60 days. A lightning adoption that had never been observed for any other application in the past.

The revolutionary aspect of this technology is underlined by the CEO of Alphabet, who presents artificial intelligence in the broad sense as “the deepest technology humanity is working on today”. Sundar Pichai goes further by defending that its concrete applications constitute “a unique opportunity for the world to achieve its climate goals, build sustainable growth, maintain global competitiveness and much more“.

Despite this surge of optimism, the leader of Google recognizes that artificial intelligence technologies “affect all sectors of activity and all aspects of life“. But the Stanford graduate, far from worrying about it, shows his enthusiasm. “The more people working to advance AI, the better it will be in terms of expanding opportunities for communities everywhere”he wants to believe.

Read alsoArtificial intelligence: Will Google lose its supremacy on the Internet?

Deep impacts

This call to further develop artificial intelligence goes against recent positions of several researchers and entrepreneurs in the tech sector, including the famous Elon Musk, aiming to “take a break of at least six months” in the “uncontrolled race” to artificial intelligence. The latter presentsprofound risks for society and humanity“explained the signatories. The leader of Google regrets this position. “While some have tried to reduce this moment to just a race for AI, we think it’s about much more than that.“, he answers them, before inviting all the actors to engage in “the race to create responsible AI“.

To show the way, Sundar Pichai develops the three axes followed by Alphabet for developing what he calls “responsible AI” . First of all, “make AI useful to everyone», citing the example of the Google Maps guidance service, or the flood prediction service Flood Hub, or scientific applications in the health sector developed by GoogleDeepMind and AlphaFold. Second, the establishment of internal rules compiled in the “AI Principlesfrom Google, which dates from 2018. Finally, external regulations drawn up by political authorities.

It is this last aspect which explains, moreover, the position taken by the boss of Google in the British business daily. European officials are currently working on artificial intelligence legislation, which will have a profound impact on the development of this technology in the West. “The United States and Europe are allies and strategic partners. It is important that they work together to create strong, innovation-friendly frameworks for emerging technology, based on shared values ​​and goalswrites Sundar Pichai. And to sign his text by noting that “We’re only just starting“.

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