A former Google CEO has warned that artificial intelligence be used to kill people in the future.
Eric Schmidt, who spent two decades at the helm of the search giant, told a gathering of senior executives on Wednesday that he believes AI presents an ‘existential risk’ for humanity ‘defined as many, many, many, many people harmed or killed.’
The software Ph.D. said the technology, which Google is helping spearhead through its relatively primitive Bard chatbot system – could be ‘misused by evil people’ when it becomes more advanced.
Schmidt, who recently chaired the US National Security Commission on AI, is the latest to make such claims.
‘There are scenarios not today, but reasonably soon, where these systems will be able to find zero-day exploits in cyber issues, or discover new kinds of biology,’ Schmidt said before The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit in London.
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So-called ‘zero-day exploits’ are security flaws in code anywhere from personal computing to digital banking to infrastructure that have only just been discovered and thus not yet patched-up by cybersecurity teams. Zero-days are the prized tools in hackers’ arsenal.
Schmidt did not go into detail on what ‘new kinds of biology’ dreamed up by a maliciously run AI worry him most.
‘Now, this is fiction today,’ Schmidt cautioned, ‘but its reasoning is likely to be true. And when that happens, we want to be ready to know how to make sure these things are not misused by evil people.’
Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and the late Stephen Hawking are among the most famous critics of AI who believe it poses a ‘profound risk to society and humanity’ and could have ‘catastrophic effects’.