Is Google’s Bard a Bengali? Sunder Pichai Says it Translated Bengali Language Even Though It was Not ‘Taught’

  • Striking a note of caution about the rapid acceleration of deploying artificial intelligence technologies, the Madurai-born tech leader called for global regulations.

Google CEO Sunder Pichai while talking about AI program’s “emergent properties” – the ability to learn unanticipated skills in which they were not trained, revealed how a Google program developed the ability to translate the language Bengali – even though it was never “taught” the dialect.

Pichai confessed that no one at Google could fully figure out how it came about.

“There is an aspect of this which we call, all of us in the field call it as a ‘black box,’” Pichai said. “You know, you don’t fully understand. And you can’t quite tell why it said this, or why it got [it] wrong,” he told anchor Scott Pelley in an interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes.

When asked why Google is going full-steam ahead with AI when it does not fully understanding the technology, Pichai replied “Let me put it this way. I don’t think we fully understand how a human mind works either.”

Recently, the New York Times reported that “Google has been doing A.I. research for years. Its DeepMind lab in London is considered one of the best A.I. research centers in the world, and the company has been a pioneer with A.I. projects, such as self-driving cars and the so-called large language models that are used in the development of chatbots.”

DeepMind Technologies is a British artificial intelligence research laboratory, and now a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.

The Madurai-born chief executive officer of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google talked about the revolutionary impact of artificial intelligence on every field of human activity, particularly in the job market.

There was a feeling of foreboding that underpinned Pichai’s views on the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence, as he called for caution and the need for regulations to govern AI — an unusual plea from the head of a private sector behemoth.

When the anchor asked if nuclear arms-style global frameworks could be needed, Pichai said: “We would need that.”

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Admitting that concerns about artificial intelligence keep him awake at night and that the technology can be “very harmful” if deployed wrongly, he said, “I think we have to be very thoughtful.”

“And I think these are all things society needs to figure out as we move along. It’s not for a company to decide,” he added.

Elaborating on how advanced AI could impact life as we know it, Pichai warned that there will be job losses, particularly among so-called knowledge workers, including writers, accountants, architects and software engineers. Its potential applications –would also affect “every product across every company.”

“For example, you could be a radiologist – if you think about five to ten years from now – you’re going to have an AI collaborator with you. You come in the morning, let’s say you have a hundred things to go through, it may say, ‘these are the most serious cases you need to look at first,’” Pichai told Palley.

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