"We are working with dangerous things."

AI Pandemic

An AI pioneer and former Google executive has issued a stark warning about the technology he helped unleash upon the world — and this one's bound to go, well, viral.

"The darkest scenario is that people will experiment with pathogens, engineered synthetic pathogens that might end up accidentally or intentionally being more transmissible," said Google DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman in a recent episode of "The Diary of a CEO" podcast.

AI-manipulated viruses could "spread faster or [be] more lethal," Suleyman said, ultimately causing "more harm" and potentially even killing people "like a pandemic."

"We are working with dangerous things," he continued. "We can't let just anyone have access to them. We need to limit who can use the AI software, the cloud systems, and even some of the biological materials."

With more and more people learning how to use the technology than ever before, there's little to stop anybody from genetically engineering a viral pathogen worse than anything ever seen before and unleashing it onto the world – which is why the DeepMind co-founder is advocating for a "containment" strategy on AI similar to the one NATO has in place for nukes.

"We have to limit access to the tools," Suleyman said, "and the know-how to carry out that kind of experimentation."

Engineered Virus

Now the CEO and co-founder of Inflection AI, Suleyman is slated to attend an AI summit led by Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer later this month in Washington, DC, which will also feature other industry luminaries like OpenAI CEO and co-founder Sam Altman, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and, of course, Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Many of Suleyman's fellow AI forum attendees have echoed his concerns.

A recent excerpt from a forthcoming Musk biography, for instance, details how the multi-hyphenate billionaire discussed AI's dangers with both former president Barack Obama and Google co-founder Larry Page, though neither was willing, per his recollection, to do anything about it.

There's little doubt that these brilliant (and controversial) minds will have a lot to say about our AI future — though it's unclear if any are as concerned about AI-influenced pandemics as Suleyman.

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