Tech executive warns companies have ‘inordinate power’ over people with AI
The president of messaging app Signal Meredith Whittaker is worried that tech companies have an “inordinate power” in the lives of everyone due to their control over the AI industry.
Concerns about advanced machine learning became to circulate once OpenAI’s ChatGPT launched last year, which led to an arms race between a few companies to develop the technology, including Google and Microsoft. Meredith admitted that she was concerned that the development of the technology, and its need for a colossal amount of data to function, could allow these companies to possess near-limitless power over AI.
She told CNBC: “Right now, there are only a handful of companies with the resources needed to create these large-scale AI models and deploy them at scale. And we need to recognize that this is giving them inordinate power over our lives and institutions.
“We should really be concerned about, again, a handful of corporations driven by profit and shareholder returns making such socially consequential decisions.”
Meredith had previously worked at Google for over a decade, but left six years ago after it came to light that the company was working on a controversial contract with the U.S.’s Department of Defence known as Project Maven.
The Signal president then warned that the technology was fundamentally a tool to boost political power, and could lead to a power struggle between the U.S. and China.
She said: “AI, as we understand it today, is fundamentally a technology that is derivative of centralized corporate power and control.
“It is built on the concentrated resources that accrued to a handful of large tech corporations, largely based in the U.S. and China via the surveillance advertising business model, which gave them powerful computational infrastructure and huge amounts of data; large markets from which to pull that data; and the ability to process and structure that data in ways useful for creating new technologies.”