Artificial intelligence can be weaponized and must be contained by humans, Microsoft President and Vice Chairman Brad Smith told CNBC in an exclusive interview.
“I think every technology that was ever invented [has] the potential to become both a tool and a weapon,” Smith said in the interview that aired Monday.
“We need to ensure that AI remains under human control. Whether it's a government, the military, or any other organization that's thinking about using AI to automate critical infrastructure, for example, we need to make sure that we have human control, that we slow things down or turn it off.
Tech leaders around the world have warned about the risks of artificial intelligence after the generative AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT rose in popularity due to its ability to generate human-like responses. Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence technology that can generate content such as text, images, code, and more.
“That's why we've been campaigning not only for companies to do the right thing, but also for new laws and regulations that ensure there are safety breaks,” Smith told CNBC's Martin Soong on the sidelines of the event Business 20 Summit at the weekend in New Delhi.
“We have seen the need for this elsewhere. I mean imagine electricity depends on circuit breakers. You put your kids on a school bus and you know there's an emergency brake. We've done this before for other technologies. Now.” “We need to do the same for the AI,” Smith said.
Impact of AI on jobs
Meanwhile, with the explosive growth of AI, workers fear the technology could replace their jobs.
A A March report by Goldman Sachs said generative AI could impact as many as 300 million jobs around the world. Between 25% and 50% of the workload in affected jobs could be replaced, the investment bank said, adding that jobs that require physical labor are less likely to be significantly affected.
The Microsoft executive pointed out that AI is a tool that complements human work and not one that replaces jobs.
“It's a tool that can help people think smarter and faster. The biggest mistake people could make is thinking that this is a tool that allows people to stop thinking,” Smith said.
“That's why at Microsoft we refer to our services as co-pilots,” Smith said.
“The ability to turn a Word document into a PowerPoint slide doesn't mean you shouldn't read your PowerPoint slides before presenting them. Rather, you should edit them and just make them perfect.”
Arvind Krishna, IBM chairman and CEO, told CNBC last week that AI will initially impact white-collar jobs but could help workers rather than replace them.
“It is by no means a suppression, but an increase. The more labor force we have, especially if it's not human based at all, we can create more GDP. We should all feel better about it,” Krishna said.