Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, AI’s godfather, is leaving Google. The man tells The New York Times that he is concerned about the possible risks of artificial intelligence.
Geoffrey Hinton is one of the pioneers of AI and has contributed to the technology behind many of today’s generative AI systems. In an interview with the New York Times, he says he is now concerned about the future of those systems and the risks they pose for things like disinformation, job loss and more.
Hinton is 75 and has been working on artificial intelligence since 1972 and has helped develop techniques for training neural networks. He was also one of the founders of AlexNet, a system that, in 2012, represented a breakthrough in machine vision and deep learning. In 2018 he won a Turing Award with Yoshua Bengio and Yann LeCun.
He has been working for Google since 2013 but now seems to reflect on his career with some regret. He told the newspaper that he is particularly concerned about the current arms race around AI between the tech giants (primarily Google and Microsoft). He fears that this kind of race can only be contained through laws and prefers collaboration between scientists to prevent AI from escaping our control. His biggest fear is that AI could threaten humanity if these systems exhibit unpredictable behaviour.
The fear of the rapid development of AI is not new. Generative AI has gone through a huge evolution in recent months. The public launch of ChatGPT at the end of last year also immediately started a race between tech giants such as Microsoft (which has invested in ChatGPT) and competitors such as Google and Meta, who have a lot of money and manpower to develop ‘the strongest’ AI. It prompted a series of experts in March to launch a petition calling for a pause in AI development.
Hinton did not sign it, incidentally. In a tweet, he clarifies that he does not want to criticize Google, which he believes handles AI responsibly. However, he does want to be able to address the wider dangers of the technology without being associated with the company.