Google AI veteran Geoffrey Hinton leaves company to warn of AI risks

Hinton believes that fierce competition in the AI space could lead to a world in which fake imagery and text make it impossible to discern what is true from false

Geoffrey Hinton, one of the pioneers of artificial intelligence (AI) and a recipient of the 2018 Turing Award, has now come out and expressed regret over his life’s work.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Hinton admitted that part of him regrets his contribution to AI, which has led to the current AI boom. Hinton, who worked at Google for over a decade, has now left his job to speak freely about the risks of AI.

Hinton, who is 75 years old, said that he consoled himself with the thought that if he had not done it, someone else would have. However, he added that it is hard to prevent bad actors from using AI for nefarious purposes. He resigned from Google last month to be able to speak more openly about his concerns.

According to The Verge, Hinton talked to CEO Sundar Pichai directly on Thursday, April 27th.

Hinton’s work at Google was instrumental in the development of neural networks that can teach themselves to identify everyday objects and animals like dogs, cats, and flowers by analyzing thousands of photos, likely trained through Google’s own dataset.

This work eventually led to the creation of ChatGPT and Google Bard. Hinton was happy with Google’s stewardship of the technology until Microsoft launched the new OpenAI-infused Bing, which challenged Google’s core business and sparked a “code red” response inside the company. Google learned that Samsung was considering replacing the default Google Search engine with Bing on its devices. According to internal messages, Google’s first reaction to the news was to “panic.”

Hinton believes that such fierce competition could lead to a world in which fake imagery and text make it impossible to discern what is true from false. It’s worth noting, however, that Hinton did not sign a recent open letter addressed to AI labs globally to pause the development of large-scale AI systems. The letter was co-signed by Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, Pinterest co-founder Evan Sharp, Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque, and several other notable AI researchers. 

“The idea that this stuff could actually get smarter than people — a few people believed that,” Hinton said to the NYT. “But most people thought it was way off. And I thought it was way off. I thought it was 30 to 50 years or even longer away. Obviously, I no longer think that.”

Image credit: Shutterstock

Source: The New York Times Via: The Verge

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