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Eric Schmidt testifies that there should be no “true anonymity” when accessing generative AI platforms

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Eric Schmidt, a former Google CEO who previously said, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place,” recently testified that people shouldn’t be able to have “true anonymity” when using generative AI products — a predictive form of AI that can produce various types of content.

Schmidt made the comments on generative AI when testifying at a House Oversight Committee hearing titled: “Advances in AI: Are We Ready For a Tech Revolution?

During the hearing, the former Google CEO offered three principles for how people should interact with generative AI platforms, one of which related to stripping true anonymity from users.

“You need to know who the users are, even if you don’t tell the end user who they are, there needs to be some notion of who they are and where they came from,” Schmidt said. “True anonymity hidden behind a paywall would allow nation-state attacks.”

Related: “Nothing to hide”

Not only is the prospect of not being able to use generative AI anonymously a blow to individual privacy but this proposal is coming from someone who has had significant influence over AI policy in the US.

Schmidt helped to fund the salaries of some Biden officials who were placed in federal departments to focus on AI.

Between August 2018 and October 2021, he led the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) — a commission that made recommendations to the President and Congress on advancing AI to meet United States (US) national security and defense needs.

And while Schmidt was chairing the NSCAI, several members of Biden’s transition team came from Rebellion Defense — a national defense and security-focused AI company that Schmidt invests in.

In addition to influencing US AI policy, Schmidt also has a financial interest in shaping its future, with Rebellion Defense being just one of his AI investments.

During his time as head of the NSCAI, Schmidt and firms linked to him made over 50 investments in AI companies and multiple investments into national security companies that sell machine learning technologies to the government.

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