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This A.I. CEO says if governments don’t regulate technology, we will live in a ‘very scary place’

October 20, 2020, 9:30 AM UTC

Tom Siebel, a longtime Silicon Valley investor and the CEO of C3.ai, has firsthand knowledge of the capacity of artificial intelligence, both to create “goodness and light” and to make the world “a very scary place.” On the latest episode of Leadership Next, Siebel shared with hosts Alan Murray and Ellen McGirt his views on technology regulation.

“If government does not regulate, we will be sorry,” he said. And that’s coming from someone who claims he isn’t “really a big government guy.”

Particularly in the use of A.I. for human systems, Siebel is wary of overdependence on machine learning. The use of the technology is inevitable, he said, but the possibility for introducing and worsening harm in the form of bias, criminal punishments, and military action concern him deeply.

In other areas like health care and retail, though, the A.I. CEO said the artificial intelligence possibilities are exciting and necessary. And his company is working with other businesses to capitalize on those A.I. opportunities that will take them into the next stage of business, one that is even more heavily reliant on technology.

In the pandemic, C3.ai is doing that by offering $200,000 in prizes to organizations that use the company’s aggregated COVID data to create and find new techniques, processes, and insights that help the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

To hear more from Siebel, including how being mauled by a wild elephant changed his perspective on risk and why he started Siebel’s Scholars, listen to the latest episode of Leadership Next.