Artificial intelligence pioneer Geoffrey Hinton has left Google and expressed concern about the potentially serious harms of the technology he helped develop.
AI has been the center of debate recently, not just because of its ability to produce human-like works but also due to the risks associated with it.
As MetaNews previously reported, over one thousand tech leaders have written an open letter calling for a pause on all major AI advancement and training until developers can better understand how these technologies function.
In 2012, Dr. Hinton and two graduate students at the University of Toronto created the intellectual foundation for the AI systems that are believed by the biggest companies in tech to be essential for their future.
However, the pioneer is now worried about the serious harms it could pose. Dr. Hinton left his job at Google, where he had worked for over a decade, to speak openly about the dangers of AI.
He expressed regret over his life’s work, saying that a part of him now wishes he had made different choices.
“I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have,” said Dr. Hinton.
AI pioneer to doomsayer
While tech titans continue pouring billions of dollars into AI, the transformation of Dr. Hinton from an AI pioneer to a doomsayer represents a significant moment for the industry. Especially at a critical juncture that could potentially define its future.
The use of generative AI as a means for spreading misinformation is already a concern, and there are fears that it could eventually pose a threat to employment opportunities.
According to some of the tech industry’s most prominent critics, it could even become a risk to humanity itself.
“It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things,” said Dr. Hinton.
Despite the resignation, Google seems nonchalant about Hinton’s concerns.
“We remain committed to a responsible approach to AI. We’re continually learning to understand emerging risks while also innovating boldly,” said Jeff Dean, Google’s chief scientist.
Dr. Hinton and Google
After Google spent $44 million to acquire the company founded by Dr. Hinton and his two students, their system became the foundation for the development of increasingly sophisticated technologies, including chatbots such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google Bard.
One of the students, Mr. Sutskever, was appointed as the chief scientist at OpenAI. In recognition of their contributions to neural networks, Dr. Hinton and two other collaborators were awarded the Turing Award in 2018, an accolade often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of computing.”
It remains to be seen whether the concerns of Hinton and others will be recognized, proven valid, or ultimately dismissed as AI development continues to ramp up.