Google’s Sundar Pichai worries about ‘unintended consequences’ of regulation

Google is reportedly facing a possible antitrust probe.

James Martin/Techhnews

As calls to break up large tech companies get louder, Google CEO Sundar Pichai says scrutiny is fair but that regulating technology just “for the sake of regulating it” could create problems.

“I worry that if you regulate for the sake of regulating it, it has a lot of unintended consequences,” Pichai told CNN’s Poppy Harlow in an interview published Friday. “You know, if you take a technology like artificial intelligence, it will have implications for our national security and … other important areas of society.”

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Pichai’s comments comes as Google and the rest of the tech industry faces a fresh wave of scrutiny from US lawmakers and regulators. Last week, the FTC and Justice Department reportedly reached a new agreement, with the FTC gaining authority to review Amazon and Facebook, while the Justice Department is able to look into Apple and Google. This deal is seen as an early step in these agencies digging into potential anticompetitive practices. State attorneys general are gearing up to investigate big tech, too. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic presidential candidate, is calling for a breakup of Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook, arguing that they’ve become so powerful that they’re stifling competition and innovation. She even put up a “Break Up Big Tech” billboard in San Francisco, right in the heart of the tech industry.

When asked about Warren’s call to break up big tech, Pichai said there needs to be “healthy, thoughtful conversations” on how to regulate the industry.

“There are many countries around the world which aspire to be the next Silicon Valley,” Pichai told CNN. “And they are supporting their companies, too. So we have to balance both. This doesn’t mean you don’t scrutinize large companies. But you have to balance it with the fact that you want big, successful companies as well.”

Google said it had no further comment to add.

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