Geoffrey Hinton, a renowned computer scientist and one of the “Godfathers of AI," recently resigned from his position at Google to speak freely about his concerns regarding the risks of artificial intelligence.
Hinton, who won the Turing Award in 2018 for his groundbreaking work in AI, says that he now regrets some of his life’s work and fears the consequences of the technology he helped create.
In an interview with The New York Times, Hinton expressed his concerns about the potential misuse of AI by “bad actors" and the spread of fake imagery and text.
He noted that as competition in the industry heats up, it may be impossible to prevent such outcomes, which could ultimately result in a world where nobody can tell what is true anymore.
For half a century, Geoffrey Hinton nurtured AI technologies. Now he worries they will cause serious harm.His journey from AI groundbreaker to doomsayer marks a remarkable moment for the technology.https://t.co/jZO0vnwV0s
— Prof. Nikolai Slavov (@slavov_n) May 2, 2023
Hinton also worries about the impact of AI on employment and the potential for the technology to eliminate rote jobs. He acknowledges that AI has the potential to write and run its own code, and even surpass human intelligence. Hinton admits that he was once skeptical of such claims but now believes that it is a real possibility.
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Hinton joined Google over a decade ago after the company acquired a startup he co-founded with two of his students, according to the NYT report. Their work on neural networks, which allowed machines to teach themselves to identify common objects, led to the development of cutting-edge AI tools like ChatGPT.
Hinton said he was initially satisfied with Google’s stewardship of the technology, but became concerned when Microsoft launched Bing, an AI-infused search engine that threatened Google’s core business.
After the interview, he took to Twitter to clarify his position on why he left Google. Defending his former employers, he said, “I left so that I could talk about the dangers of AI without considering how this impacts Google. Google has acted very responsibly."
In the NYT today, Cade Metz implies that I left Google so that I could criticize Google. Actually, I left so that I could talk about the dangers of AI without considering how this impacts Google. Google has acted very responsibly.— Geoffrey Hinton (@geoffreyhinton) May 1, 2023
Hinton’s resignation from Google marks a turning point in his career as a scientist and educator. He now plans to devote his time to speaking out about the risks of AI and promoting a responsible approach to its development and use.