Leonardo’s CEO says stupidity is a bigger threat than AI.

Roberto Sangolani, chief executive officer of Leonardo SpA, during an interview on Tuesday, January 23, 2024 in London, UK.

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The chief executive of Italian defense group Leonardo said on Friday he was more concerned about the “stupidity” of artificial intelligence users than the risks posed by the technology itself.

His comments come amid repeated warnings about the dangers of AI, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently calling on international political and business leaders to prioritize a global strategy to deal with the technology. .

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 17, Guterres said the rapid development of AI could result in “serious unintended consequences.”

“Frankly, I’m more concerned about the lack of control by humans, who are still fighting wars 2,000 years later,” Leonardo CEO Roberto Sangolani told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Friday. “

“With that in mind, artificial intelligence is a tool. It’s a human-made algorithm, running a human-made computer, controlling a human-made machine. I’m more afraid, more worried. I am [about] To be honest it’s more national stupidity than artificial intelligence,” he added.

“I have a scientific background, so I definitely consider technology neutral. The problem is the user, not the technology.”

Proponents of AI say the technology could be used to benefit humanity in many ways, including faster diagnosis of patients, helping to model climate change and fighting cyber attacks.

However, the International Monetary Fund said in a report published on January 14 that around 40% of jobs worldwide could be affected by the rise of AI.

The Washington, DC-based organization also warned that the potential impact of technology on the global labor market could worsen overall inequality in most cases.

Sangolani said defense companies like Leonardo should make a “huge effort” to introduce “mass digitalization” of their platforms, including providing autonomous systems and services that are powered by AI.

“It’s a complete paradigm shift. It’s really a different technological approach to defense and security. It’s a big technology challenge,” he added.

Shares in Leonardo rose more than 4% as of 08:48 a.m. London time on Friday. The Milan-listed stock is up more than 37% year-to-date.

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