Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt tells government to leave A.I. regulation to Big Tech

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt told government to back off when it comes to regulating AI, arguing policies can prematurely restrict its development.
Lukas Schulze—Sportsfile for Collision via Getty Images

Governments currently lack the expertise to suitably regulate artificial intelligence and should best leave that job to Big Tech, argued former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

A.I. is expected to revolutionize productivity through the introduction of advanced generative assistants like ChatGPT and Midjourney, potentially rendering 300 million knowledge sector workers jobless according to Goldman Sachs.

However, the tech community is split over how best to contain the risks, with Elon Musk pushing for a delay in next-generation A.I. research while Bill Gates opposes it. 

Speaking to NBC’s Meet the Press, Schmidt believes no one outside of the industry could possibly be versed enough in the technology to define either what the “reasonable boundaries” of A.I. should be or where to put them.

“My concern with any kind of premature regulation, especially from the government, is it’s always written in a restrictive way,” Schmidt said in comments broadcast on Sunday. “What I’d much rather do is have an agreement among the key players that we will not have a race to the bottom.”

Schmidt isn’t just familiar with the technology through his time running Google, one of the leaders in the field along with Sam Altman’s OpenAI, Microsoft, IBM and Baidu of China.

He also served as the chair of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, which recommended in its March 2021 final report the United States make a “modest down payment” of $40 billion into developing the technology. 

U.S. officials are collecting comments from the public on how best to regulate A.I. until June 10th, by which point Europe may have also fine-tuned its plans.

“The key issue from my perspective is how do we put guardrails on the worst behaviors and how do we get international agreement on what those things are,” Schmidt said.

Subscribe to Well Adjusted, our newsletter full of simple strategies to work smarter and live better, from the Fortune Well team. Sign up today.

Read More

Artificial IntelligenceCryptocurrencyMetaverseCybersecurityTech Forward