Brad Smith wants Microsoft to help world governments with AI regulations

Bing Chat integration with SwiftKey
Bing Chat is part of Microsoft's expanding efforts in the AI space. (Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • There are rising concerns over generative AI's impact on humanity.
  • Microsoft has indicated that it would be possible to establish control over the technology with elaborate measures.
  • Exports controls have been placed on US-based companies manufacturing AI chips to prevent China from tapping into the technology.

In the past few months, generative AI has climbed the ranks and is currently rated among the top three priorities among most companies. Microsoft's latest Work Trend Index report shows that the technology can be leveraged to redefine how people work, ultimately promoting productivity.

And while all this sounds good on paper, a major concern amongst consumers is how it will impact their lives and whether it's a threat to humanity. However, Microsoft's VC and President, Brad Smith, share the same sentiments as highlighted by EuroNews

Towards the end of this week, while in an interview, Smith indicated that it was possible to use the technology without it having negative implications as long as there are elaborate safety measures to moderate it.

We can do that, and this is the right time to come together and figure out how to do it. We should have it at multiple layers so that we're always keeping this technology under control. I think if we do that well, we'll recognise that this is not an existential risk.

Brad Smith, Microsoft President

Microsoft's President was in Europe to follow up on the negotiations between EU institutions to find a way forward to handle the bloc’s landmark AI Act. Earlier this month, the European Parliament approved the bloc’s landmark rules for AI, which is a big deal as it's now one step closer to becoming law. The Act is the first set of regulations to help govern the implementation and use of generative AI.

To this end, Smith has indicated that Microsoft is "encouraged" by the EU's legislation so far but is keen to ensure that elaborate measures are in place to ensure the technology doesn't spiral out of control.

In a separate interview with WIRED earlier this month, Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella, was also asked about the company's take on AI and its emerging concerns about its impact on society. The CEO confirmed that elaborate safety measures were in place to ensure that the situation remains contained. He further added that if it was possible to get a grip on the power grid and nuclear energy, then it is also possible for them to handle "powerful technology" like AI.

ChatGPT privacy settings

OpenAI's ChatGPT flung artificial intelligence into center stage for companies and consumers. (Image credit: Future)

Microsoft's President, Brad Smith, highlighted that it was important to establish international coordination on the regulation of AI. He further highlighted that establishing control would be simple if governments would join forces and map out a plan to take on this matter.  

The mapped-out plan would allow them to focus on what was really important rather than trying to handle multiple things in one go. In May, the EU and US announced they would collaborate to develop elaborate measures to run the generative technology. The executive hopes that more countries will join this venture, where the parties involved would help outline and develop the code used to determine how the whole thing works.

I fully expect that a voluntary code will become a mandatory code, and that will be a good thing, but it's good to get it right before one makes it mandatory.

Brad Smith, Microsoft President

Microsoft has shown keen interest in generative technology this year, following its extended relationship with OpenAI after making a multi-billion-dollar investment. China has also been looking to hop on the AI craze, but there has been a lot of concern over its intentions with the technology in the long run.

Export controls have already been placed on US-based companies that manufacture AI chips. There's also a rising concern over Beijing's intentions with Taiwan, the world's largest producer of semiconductors. This leaves Microsoft in a tough situation as it is deeply invested in both countries. 

That said, the Microsoft executive indicated that there's very little that the company could do to remedy the situation. The US has already indicated that it would hit Beijing with sanctions if China intended to invade Taiwan. If this happens, Microsoft will be on the receiving end, as it would greatly impact how it runs its business.

In related news, Microsoft recently debuted a new AI Skills Initiative designed to "help people and communities around the world learn how to harness the power of AI."

Kevin Okemwa

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.