"It's bigger than climate change, believe it or not."
Beyond an Emergency
Former top Google exec Mo Gawdet, who once led the Silicon Valley behemoth's Google X "moonshot" division, is very stressed about AI.
"It is beyond an emergency," Gawdat said in a new interview on a podcast called "The Diary of a CEO," hosted by Stephen Bartlett. "It's the biggest thing we need to do today. It's bigger than climate change, believe it or not."
"The likelihood of something incredibly disruptive happening within the next two years that can affect the entire planet," he added, "is definitely larger with AI than it is with climate change."
For context's sake, we would like to point out that devastating side effects of climate change — fires, floods, droughts, worsened storms, astronomically high temps — are already disrupting places and civilizations around the world. But we do get the guy's point. By Gawdet's prediction, AI is bound to have devastating impacts on human society — and those negatives are just around the corner.
As far as his more specific concerns go — as opposed to your average vague, generalized AI anxiety — Gawdat told Bartlett that his pressing near-term worries include, among other potential crises, cybercrime-abetting tools like deepfakes and automation-driven mass job loss.
But honestly, those are all small beans compared to some of the former Googler's recent claims. Recently, on a different podcast called "Secret Leaders," Gawdat said that the probability that AI would come to think of humans as "scum" is "very high," additionally claiming that AI might also create its own "killing machines."
So, uh, safe to say that Gawdat is definitely an AI doomer.
Tax 'Em, Baby
But for all of his fear, Gawdat, who's very much in favor of government regulation of the tech, does have a proposed mitigation idea: just tax the living daylights out of 'em.
"I have a very clear call for action for governments," Gawdat said in the "Diary of a CEO" interview. "I'm saying tax AI-powered businesses at 98 percent so suddenly you do what the open letter was trying to do, slow them down a little bit, and at the same time get enough money to pay for all of those people that will be disrupted by the technology."
Definitely on the extreme side of taxation, but gotta start the negotiations somewhere, we guess.
Look, Gawdat's grim warnings should be taken with a grain of salt. But that said, it's true that the unpredictable tech is progressing incredibly quickly — and no one, not even the folks building it, really know what's lurking underneath sleek AI interfaces.
More on AI fears: OpenAI CEO Signs Letter Warning AI Could Cause Human "Extinction"
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