A former Google exec warned about the dangers of AI saying it is 'beyond an emergency' and 'bigger than climate change'

A former Google exec warned about the dangers of AI saying it is 'beyond an emergency' and 'bigger than climate change'
A former Google officer says there's a larger chance of AI disrupting "the entire planet" than climate change in the next two years.Courtesy of Mo Gawdat
  • Mo Gawdat, a former top Google employee, said AI is a bigger emergency than climate change.
  • Gawdat appeared in an episode of The Diary of a CEO podcast with Steven Bartlett to discuss AI.

A former Google officer has weighed in on the debate around AI and warned that it is a bigger emergency than climate change, in an an episode of The Diary of a CEO podcast released Thursday.

Mo Gawdat, previously chief business officer at Google X — the company's division for ambitious projects known as "moonshots" — spoke with podcast host Steven Bartlett about whether AI is sentient, its impact on jobs, and how he believes the government needs to regulate the industry.

"It is beyond an emergency," Gawdat told Bartlett in the podcast. "It's the biggest thing we need to do today. It's bigger than climate change believe it or not."

Complimentary Tech Event
Transform talent with learning that works
Capability development is critical for businesses who want to push the envelope of innovation.Discover how business leaders are strategizing around building talent capabilities and empowering employee transformation.Know More

He added: "The likelihood of something incredibly disruptive happening within the next two years that can affect the entire planet is definitely larger with AI than it is with climate change."

Gawdat further argued that he believes the rapid development of AI will result in "mass job losses" and that governments need to step in to regulate the technology.


He said: "I have a very clear call for action for governments. I'm saying tax AI-powered businesses at 98% so suddenly you do what the open letter was trying to do, slow them down a little bit, and at the same time get enough money to pay for all of those people that will be disrupted by the technology."

Gawdat was referring to an open letter in March that called for a six month pause on the development of AI more powerful than OpenAI's GPT-4, signed by AI experts and leading figures in the industry including Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque.

The letter said tech firms are part of an "out-of-control race to develop and deploy," new AI technologies which risks losing control of civilization.

Insider reached out to Gawdat for further comment via LinkedIn, but did not immediately hear back.

After OpenAI's chatbot ChatGPT launched in November and became the fastest growing consumer app in internet history, Google launched a competing product called Bard in March.


Google's CEO Sundar Pichai recently wrote that AI is "too important not to regulate well," in an article in the Financial Times.