Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Says He Can Keep AI From Escaping Human Control

The recent launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT has put Google on high alert as the advanced chatbot poses a threat to its dominance in an online search. A.I.-powered search engines could revolutionize the industry, and Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, is eager to compete as Microsoft gears up to release its own A.I.-powered search engine.

He realizes that Google has had an advantage over his company for quite some time. However, he believes that artificial intelligence could provide Microsoft with an opportunity to outdo its rival.

Satya Nadella took the opportunity to address concerns over safely developing its AI in an interview with CBS News. He is looking forward to more powerful AI models but cautioned that human oversight would be key.

In the interview, Nadella said that these powerful AI models need to be used in a way “where humans are unambiguously, unquestionably” in charge to keep them from going out of control.

First, he defended the decision to release the AI to the public, even if it’s still full of kinks.

“The only way for any new technology to be really perfected is to be in the market with real human feedback,” Nadella said. “If anything, in particular with AI, it has to get aligned with human preferences, both personally and societally, in terms of the norms.”

“And yes, we will have many, many mechanisms in place to ensure that nothing biased, nothing harmful gets generated,” he added.

Nadella said if “runaway AI” happens, “it’s a real problem,” but the way to handle it is to “make sure it never runs away.” Before thinking about safety and alignment, Nadella said people need to think about what AI is being used for.

“The first set of categories in which we should use these powerful models are where humans unambiguously, unquestionably, are in charge,” Nadella said. “And so as long as we sort of start there, characterize these models, make these models safer and overtime much more explainable, then we can think about other forms of usage, but let’s not have it run away.”

Nadella has been happy to pile the pressure on the traditionally dominant Google this week, which may have more to prove—and more to lose—as the A.I. wars heat up.

“At the end of the day, [Google is] the 800-pound gorilla in this,” Nadella told The Verge. “I hope that, with our innovation, they will definitely want to come out and show that they can dance. And I want people to know that we made them dance.”

Nadella said the integration of A.I. heralds a new generation for the search market and represents a “platform shift” where “you get to reimagine pretty much everything.”

The A.I.-powered version of Bing is not yet available to the public, although there is a wait list while it is being rolled out to testers. And there’s no doubt that the race to successfully release an A.I.-powered search engine to the public has begun.

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