"Godfather of AI" Quits Google, Warns About Dangers of AI

    "Godfather of AI" Quits Google, Warns About Dangers of AI
    Last updated May 02, 2023
    Image credit: nytimes


    • Geoffrey Hinton — a computer scientist who has been dubbed “The Godfather of AI” — told The New York Times on Monday that he's quitting his part-time position at Google and will instead devote his time to warning the world about the potential threat of artificial intelligence.
    • In 2012, Hinton and two of his University of Toronto graduate students created technology that later became the foundation for many current AI systems. He says he “consoles” himself with the excuse: “If I hadn't done it, somebody else would have."
    • Hinton’s decision to speak out comes as lawmakers, advocacy groups, and tech insiders have raised concerns about the potential negative consequences of AI. The widely used ChatGPT has drawn particular attention as tech companies look to develop similar AI tools.
    • Hinton said he hadn't been concerned about Google’s relationship with AI until Microsoft recently launched its new GPT-4-powered Bing, challenging Google’s core business and sparking a “code red” response. He added that the fierce competition could spiral out of control.
    • Since OpenAI released GPT-4 — its new and vastly more powerful version of ChatGPT — in March, more than 1K technology leaders and researchers have signed the Future of Life Institute's open letter calling for a six-month pause on the development of more powerful systems, citing their “profound risks to society and humanity.”
    • Hinton has echoed those fears, stating that progression since 2012, while astonishing, is likely just the tip of the iceberg. He didn't sign the letter at the time, but he has since claimed it was because he didn't want to criticize Google while working there.


    Narrative A

    When the person known as the “Godfather of AI” starts to overtly warn the public about the technology’s immense dangers, you know the situation is serious. Hinton isn't alone in the scientific community in making dire warnings about AI, and the public must be aware and alert about the pace of AI development. While Hinton didn't want to smear his former employer, it's pretty obvious that Google is more concerned with keeping up in the AI arms race than the potential threat to humanity posed by irresponsible AI development.

    Narrative B

    Geoffrey Hinton is one of the most accomplished and influential researchers of the last half-decade, and his breakthroughs have been invaluable. It's natural for a pioneer of such a revolutionary technology to be worried about the potential consequences of its development. However, the processes and principles being used today aren't so different from those employed by Hinton over the last decade. Exploratory development is bound to prompt anxiety, but the potential benefit of advancing AI far outweighs the risks.

    Nerd narrative

    There is a 50% chance that AIs will program programs that can program AIs by November, 2026, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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