The CEO of Google and Alphabet called the COVID pandemic “a moment of reflection” for society and the role technology plays in it.
“While you see all the hard impact around the world, you also see the role technology plays and how much of the economy is still functioning around the world,” Sundar Pichai said Thursday during a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland.
Pichai said his company is “focused on what our role can be and in economic recovery, supporting small businesses, helping people gain digital skills.”
“As a company, we want to do our part. We have announced initiatives around racial equity vaccination. How can we help in vaccination? So we are going to engage on areas where we can find common ground and advocate for it,” Pichai said.
Collectively, he said, the world is dealing with “an extraordinary moment” deciding “where the boundaries lie with freedom of speech, what do we need for a well functioning society?”
Pichai said the violence seen during the riots at the United Sates Capitol days before the inauguration of President Joe Biden highlighted the need for “potential regulatory approaches to give clearer rules of the road” for social media and the internet as a whole.
“As a company, we’ve always stood for free speech. But there are boundaries which I think a society we need to agree on. And, you know, incitement to violence is an example of one of those kinds of boundaries. So that’s the context in which I think we need to look at look at the moment.”