Geoffrey Hinton, often referred to as the “Godfather of AI,” announced on Monday that he has resigned from Google to openly discuss the potential dangers of artificial intelligence (AI), according to a local NBC News report.
Hinton, a pioneer in neural network research, has greatly influenced AI systems that power numerous modern-day products.
AI language model ChatGPT gives the following response when asked about Hinton:
Geoffrey Hinton is a renowned computer scientist and artificial intelligence (AI) researcher. He was born in London, UK in 1947 and is currently a professor at the University of Toronto and a researcher at Google Brain. Hinton is known for his pioneering work in the field of deep learning, which has revolutionized the way machines learn and process information. He is considered one of the "fathers of deep learning" and has been awarded numerous honors for his contributions to the field, including the Turing Award, which is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of Computing. Hinton has also been a key player in the development of neural networks, which are modeled on the structure and function of the human brain. His work has had a major impact on many areas of AI, including computer vision, speech recognition, and natural language processing.
Having worked with Google for a decade, Hinton now has concerns about the technology he helped develop.
He told the New York Times, “I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have,” later clarifying in a Monday tweet that his departure was not due to any specific criticism of Google, but rather to allow him to freely discuss AI risks.
Hinton stated in the tweet, “I left so that I could talk about the dangers of AI without considering how this impacts Google. Google has acted very responsibly.”
Google’s chief scientist, Jeff Dean, acknowledged Hinton’s “foundational breakthroughs in AI” and his ten-year contributions to the company, the NBC affiliate notes.
Dean also assured that Google remains committed to a responsible approach to AI.
In March, several prominent tech figures signed a letter urging AI labs to halt the training of powerful AI systems for at least six months, citing “profound risks to society and humanity.”
The letter, published by the Future of Life Institute, was released just two weeks after OpenAI announced GPT-4, an even more advanced version of the technology behind ChatGPT.
Hinton shared concerns about AI’s capacity to destroy jobs and create a world where discerning truth becomes difficult.
He was surprised by the speed of AI advancement, admitting, “The idea that this stuff could actually get smarter than people — a few people believed that. 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.”
Prior to leaving Google, Hinton had already acknowledged the potential harm AI could cause.
In a 2021 commencement address at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in Mumbai, he said, “I believe that the rapid progress of AI is going to transform society in ways we do not fully understand and not all of the effects are going to be good.”
He mentioned AI’s potential to revolutionize healthcare, but also its ability to create lethal autonomous weapons, which he found “much more immediate and much more terrifying” than the idea of robots taking over.