Thomas Kurian speaks at the cloud computing conference that was held by Google in 2019.
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Google's head of cloud computing told CNBC that the company is in early discussions with European regulators about the new artificial intelligence regulations. The conversations are focused on how Google and other companies, including itself, can develop AI responsibly and safely.
The internet search leader is developing tools to address some of the concerns the bloc has about AI, including that it could become more difficult to differentiate between content produced by humans and AI.
"We are having productive discussions with the EU government." Thomas Kurian, who spoke exclusively to CNBC from the London office of his company, said: "We do want to find a way forward."
These technologies are not without risk, but also offer enormous potential that can generate real value for the people.
Kurian stated that Google is developing technologies that will allow people to distinguish between AI-generated content and human-generated content. At its I/O event, the company announced a solution for "watermarking", which labels AI-generated pictures.
This hints that Google and other large tech companies are developing ways to bring private sector oversight of AI before formal regulations are put in place.
AI systems are advancing at an accelerated pace. Tools like Stability Diffusion and ChatGPT can produce results that go beyond previous iterations. ChatGPT, and similar tools, are being increasingly used by computer programmer as a companion to help them create code.
EU policymakers, as well as regulators in other countries, are concerned that generative AI has lowered the barriers to mass production, which could be harmful to artists and creative professionals who depend on royalties for income. The models are created using huge amounts of data from the internet, most of which is protected by copyright.
Members of the European parliament approved legislation earlier this month aimed at providing oversight for AI deployment within the EU. The EU AI Act includes provisions that ensure training data used for generative AI doesn't violate copyright law.
Kurian stated that "we have many European customers who are building AI-generative apps on our platform." We continue to work closely with the EU to ensure that we fully understand their concerns.
"We provide tools to identify if content was created by a model, for instance." This is just as important as copyright, because you would not be able enforce the law if you couldn't tell if a model or a human generated it.
AI is a major battleground for the global tech industry. Companies compete to be the first ones to develop the technology, especially generative AI which can create new content based on user input. Academics and boardrooms have been blown away by what generative AI can do, from generating music lyrics to code generation.
It has also caused concern about job displacement, misinformation and bias.
Google employees and top researchers have expressed concerns about the rapid pace at which AI is evolving.
Google employees, for instance, referred to the announcement of Bard, the company's generative AI-powered chatbot that will compete with Microsoft's ChatGPT and OpenAI's ChatGPT as "rushed," 'botched', and 'un-Googley' in messages posted on the internal forum Memegen.
Former high-profile Google researchers have also raised the alarm about the company's handling AI, and the lack of attention they claim is paid to the ethical development such technology.
Timnit Gebru was the former coleader of Google's ethical AI group, who raised alarm over the company's guidelines on AI ethics. Geoffrey Hinton is the machine learning pioneer, known as "Godfather AI," and he left the company due to fears that its aggressive push towards AI had gotten out of hand.
Kurian, Google's Kurian, wants to let global regulators know that the company is not afraid of regulation.
Kurian said to CNBC, "We've made it clear that we support regulation." Kurian told CNBC, "We have said quite widely that we welcome regulation."
In the rush to regulate AI around the world, the U.K. introduced a framework for AI principles that regulators can enforce without having to write their own formal regulations. The administration of President Joe Biden and several U.S. government departments have also proposed frameworks to regulate AI.
Insiders in the tech industry are concerned that regulators don't move quickly enough to respond to new, innovative technologies. Many companies have come up with their own solutions to introduce guardrails for AI instead of waiting for laws.
Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives says that A.I. is not a hype, but a 'transformational' technology.