Geoffrey Hinton, often referred to as the “godfather of AI,” has recently left his position at Google to raise awareness about the potential dangers of artificial intelligence. Hinton, who spent a decade working part-time at Google on AI development, has expressed some regrets about his role in advancing the technology, according to CNN.
“I left so that I could talk about the dangers of AI without considering how this impacts Google,” Hinton tweeted. Google has acted very responsibly.”
The pioneering computer scientist now believes that digital intelligence has the capacity to “acquire significantly more knowledge than any individual biological agent.” Leading tech companies, including Google, Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, Baidu, and Tencent, are investing heavily in the development of new AI models.
Originally, Hinton estimated that AI technology was 30 to 50 years away, or even more. However, he has since revised his view, stating, “Obviously, I no longer think that.” His departure from Google is seen as a significant loss for the company. Jeff Dean, Google’s chief scientist, credited Hinton with making “foundational breakthroughs in AI,” and expressed appreciation for his “decade of contributions at Google.” Meanwhile, Hinton continues to reflect on the impact of his work.
To justify his involvement in AI development, Hinton said in a recent New York Times interview: “I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have.” He expressed concern about AI’s potential to eliminate jobs in the future and create a world where people are unable to discern the truth.
Last March, several leading technology figures signed a letter addressed to AI labs, urging them to halt the training of the most powerful AI systems for at least six months due to their “profound risks to society and humanity.” The letter, published by the nonprofit Future of Life Institute and supported by Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk, was released just two weeks after OpenAI unveiled GPT-4.
GPT-4 is a more advanced version of the technology that powers ChatGPT. In early tests, it demonstrated capabilities such as drafting lawsuits and achieving high scores on standardized exams, among other skills.