Google boss warns of threats to internet freedom


The free and open internet is under attack in countries around the world, Google boss Sundar Pichai has warned. He says many countries are restricting the flow of information, and the model is often taken for granted.

In an in-depth interview with the BBC, Pichai also addresses controversies around tax, privacy and data. And he argues artificial intelligence is more profound than fire, electricity or the internet. Pichai is chief executive of one of the most complex, consequential and rich institutions in history.

As boss of both Google and its parent company Alphabet, he is the ultimate leader of companies or products as varied as Waze, FitBit and DeepMind, the artificial intelligence pioneers. At Google alone he oversees Gmail, Google Chrome, Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Docs, Google Photos, the Android operating system and many other products. But by far the most familiar is Google Search. It’s even become its own verb: to Google.

According to Pichai, over the next quarter of a century, two other developments will further revolutionise our world: artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Artificial intelligence is, at base, the attempt to replicate human intelligence in machines. Various AI systems are already better at solving particular kinds of problems than humans.

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