The 2018 Turing Award recipient Geoffrey Hinton, widely recognized as one of the “Godfathers of AI,” expressed regret over his life’s work that contributed to the current AI boom.
He recently left his position at Google to voice his concerns about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence, as revealed in a recent interview with The New York Times.
Despite soothing himself with the thought that someone else would have done it if he hadn’t, Hinton, now 75 years old, believes it is difficult to prevent bad actors from misusing AI. He had been a part of Google for over a decade before his resignation.
Last month, Hinton informed Google of his resignation, and he also discussed his decision with CEO Sundar Pichai. However, the specifics of the exchange remain undisclosed.
After selling his company, which had been acquired by Google, Geoffrey Hinton, a lifelong academic, joined Google. Hinton and two of his students had previously developed a neural network that could learn to recognize common objects such as dogs, cats, and flowers by analyzing thousands of photographs. This work ultimately led to the creation of technologies like ChatGPT and Google Bard.
Hinton was satisfied with Google’s handling of the technology until Microsoft’s Bing launched with OpenAI integration. This posed a threat to Google’s core business, resulting in a “code red” response within the company, according to the NYT interview.
Hinton believes such intense competition may be difficult to prevent and could lead to a world where fake images and text are so prevalent that it is impossible to distinguish the truth.
Google’s Chief Scientist, Jeff Dean, attempted to ease concerns by stating that the company is committed to responsible AI development and continually learns to understand emerging risks while innovating boldly.
In addition to his interview with The New York Times, Geoffrey Hinton also posted on Twitter to clarify his stance on Google’s handling of AI.
However, Hinton’s concerns extend beyond the spread of misinformation. He fears that AI could replace routine jobs and even lead to humanity’s demise as it can write and execute its own code.
Hinton told the NYT that some individuals believed that AI could surpass human intelligence, but he and most others believed it was a far-off possibility. He believed it would take 30 to 50 years or even longer. However, Hinton now acknowledges that his previous estimation was incorrect.