GOOGLE AND MICROSOFT WARN THAT AI MAY DO DUMB THINGS
GOOGLE CEO SUNDAR Pichai brought good tidings to investors on parent company Alphabet’s earnings call last week. Alphabet reported $39.3 billion in revenue last quarter, up 22 percent from a year earlier. Pichai gave some of the credit to Google’s machine learning technology, saying it had figured out how to match ads more closely to what consumers wanted.
One thing Pichai didn’t mention: Alphabet is now cautioning investors that the same AI technology could create ethical and legal troubles for the company’s business. The warning appeared for the first time in the “Risk Factors” segment of Alphabet’s latest annual report, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission the following day:
“New products and services, including those that incorporate or utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning, can raise new or exacerbate existing ethical, technological, legal, and other challenges, which may negatively affect our brands and demand for our products and services and adversely affect our revenues and operating results.”