Free, open internet under attack: Google chief Sundar Pichai

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has warned that the free and open internet is under attack around the world. He asserts that many countries are restricting the flow of information and the model is often taken for granted.

Sundar Pichai covered a wide range of topics, including the threat to free and open internet and also narrowed down on two developments that he feels will further revolutionize the world over the next quarter of a century as artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing.

The Google chief urged “countries with strong democratic traditions and values” to stand up against the potential fragmenting of the internet.

Mr. Pichai’s comment comes as social media platforms, news publishers, OTT websites and search engines (like Google) grapple with new laws introduced by the Indian government.

Pichai said India is deeply rooted in him and a big part of who he is. “I’m an American citizen but India is deep within me. So it’s a big part of who I am,” he said when asked about his roots.

Mr. Pichai also addressed the controversies around tax, privacy, and data. He argued artificial intelligence was more profound than fire, electricity, or the internet.

“It is more a step back… I think a free and open internet is a tremendous force for good and we take it for granted a bit…,” he said in response to a question about “different internets” – a reference to countries having increasingly disparate laws about online content and what kind is “offensive”.

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