Eric Schmidt has long been a prominent supporter of research and investment into artificial intelligence. The Google (Alphabet) chairman has been involved in the company’s self-driving car and predictive search engines, and previously warned we shouldn’t fear a future of AI. In a new op-ed in Time Magazine, Schmidt praises the promise of AI, but warns it “will require the right approach.”
Schmidt calls for the makers of AI to follow three guiding principles. The first is that “AI should benefit the many, not the few,” and always ensure that any creation “aims for the common good.” Schmidt also wants AI development to be “open, responsible, and socially engaged.” Challenges and questions will undoubtedly arise as AI becomes a lot more powerful, and Schmidt wants an open and collaborative conversation.
The third principle involves avoiding “undesirable outcomes.” There are many fears around AI replacing jobs and generally taking over the world. Many of those concerns may be misguided, but Schmidt is calling for verification systems to ensure an AI system “is doing what it was built to do.” The thought of an AI system going rogue or out of control will add fuel to many existing fears, but Schmidt believes AI is just technology designed to improve our lives and controlled by humans:
“We are building tools that humans control. AI will reflect the values of those who build it. Ultimately, our dream for AI is to give people more choices about how they live their lives. Under our control, it can take the drudgery out of work and free up many more hours for creative pursuits. And applied collaboratively, AI could help bring about solutions to the world’s most complex problems.”