(Bloomberg) -- Authentication software company Okta Inc. plans to devote about $40 million of its annual research and development budget to new artificial intelligence projects, Chief Executive Officer Todd McKinnon said.
The investment represents about 10% of the total R&D budget for the 14-year-old software maker, known for providing user identification services. One of its first projects is a bot that guides customers on how to use the firm’s products, McKinnon told Bloomberg News on Thursday.
McKinnon said that AI is “worthy of the hype” and that “regulation is coming too soon.” His comments come as other tech leaders, including Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, have urged developers to hit the pause button on training powerful AI models. Others, including OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman have called for governments to regulate the technology.
Read more: OpenAI’s Altman Clashes With EU Commissioner Over AI Regulation
Restricting the technology in the West without fully understanding how it works is “dangerous” and could allow other countries to win the global AI race, McKinnon added.
Read more: TikTok-Owner Tests ChatGPT-Style Bot After Joining China AI Race
Okta, which counts UK retailer Boohoo Group Plc and parts of the US federal government as customers, forecast revenues for 2024 of $2.18 billion to $2.19 billion, according to corporate filings.
The shares are down 2.2% this year. Okta’s reliance on small and mid-sized customers who are more likely to pull back on IT spending “may put it at a disadvantage,” according to analysis from Bloomberg Intelligence.
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