Former Google CEO Says AI Could Potentially Kill ‘Many, Many’ People

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently highlighted the possible hazards of artificial intelligence (AI) at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit in London. Schmidt described AI as a “existential risk” that might cause considerable harm or perhaps death for many people. However, he also presented an intriguing counter-solution to this threat: if humans cut their birth rates, AI may fill the labor force hole, averting huge job losses.

Schmidt voiced alarm over dropping birth rates, saying, “We are not having enough children,” which might lead to a demographic catastrophe in which elderly generations do not receive adequate care from younger generations. He also claimed that there will be a labor shortage in the next decades, leaving numerous professions empty. Schmidt argues that AI may help in this situation by substituting the scarcity of human labor with its own efficient capabilities.

The idea of relying on AI to address job shortages caused by automation is certainly unconventional. Tech leaders, including Schmidt’s successor Sundar Pichai, struggle to provide satisfactory answers regarding the potential consequences of technological advancements on employment. Schmidt acknowledged that there would be job losses and gains, emphasizing that business communities prioritize efficiency. He believes that although mass layoffs may occur in the short term, the long-term impact will be positive, with AI creating new opportunities alongside the loss of certain jobs.

Regarding regulation, Schmidt stated that the AI industry should self-regulate rather than relying on government intervention. He expressed skepticism about the government’s ability to effectively regulate the rapidly evolving AI technology. While declining birth rates and shrinking labor markets are undeniable global trends, the question remains whether AI alone can address job shortages. Schmidt’s viewpoint raises eyebrows and invites further debate on the topic.

In conclusion, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt considers AI an existential risk but also sees it as a potential solution to the shortage of human labor caused by declining birth rates. While his perspective may provoke skepticism, it highlights the ongoing struggle to reconcile the potential benefits and risks of AI in the job market. The future impact of AI on employment and the need for regulatory measures continue to be subjects of intense discussion and exploration.

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