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'Godfather' of Artificial Intelligence quits job and explains why we should be wary of AI

He laid the foundation of Artificial Intelligence in 2012 and now regrets his contributions in developing it.

'Godfather' of Artificial Intelligence quits job and explains why we should be wary of AI
Cover Image Source: Youtube | CBS Mornings

Geoffrey Hinton is considered the 'godfather' of Artificial Intelligence. In 2012, Hinton and his two graduate students laid the foundation of the technology for Artificial Intelligence (AI) at the University of Toronto. In spite of this, on May 1 this year, he resigned from his job at Google and joined the critics of AI, reports The New York Times. He chose to quit his job to openly voice his concerns about AI chatbots such as Chat GPT. Hinton even said that he regrets a part of his work with AI. "I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have," he noted.


According to BBC, the computer scientist claimed that chatbots may soon exceed the amount of information held by the human brain. He explained: "Right now, they're not more intelligent than us, as far as I can tell. But I think they soon may be. What we're seeing is things like GPT-4 eclipses a person in the amount of general knowledge it has and it eclipses them by a long way.

"In terms of reasoning, it's not as good, but it does already do simple reasoning. Given the rate of progress, we expect things to get better quite fast. So we need to worry about that," Hinton added.


He also discussed his fear of "bad actors" who might use AI for "bad things." He elaborated: "This is just a kind of worst-case scenario, a nightmare scenario. You can imagine, for example, some bad actor like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin decided to give robots the ability to create their own sub-goals. I've come to the conclusion that the kind of intelligence we're developing is very different from the intelligence we have." 


He pointed out that while humans have biological systems, emerging intelligence is digital. The significant disparity between the two is that digital systems have multiple replicas of the identical set of weights and the corresponding model of the world.

"And all these copies can learn separately but share their knowledge instantly. So it's as if you had 10,000 people and whenever one person learned something, everybody automatically knew it. And that's how these chatbots can know so much more than anyone," Hinton added.

As a lifelong academic, Hinton also refused to take funding from the Pentagon in the 1980s, which was the source of most AI funding at the time. He is strictly opposed to the use of AI on the battlefield and he calls it, "robot soldiers."


Emphasizing that he did not intend to criticize Google, Hinton stated that the tech company had acted in a very responsible manner. He explained: 'I actually want to say some good things about Google. And they're more credible if I don't work for Google." He is concerned about the potential impact of AI on society. He fears that the widespread availability of manipulated photos, videos and text could make it difficult for the average person to differentiate between what is true and what is false.

Additionally, he worries that AI may disrupt the job market and replace workers who work in routine roles such as paralegals, personal assistants and translators. Hinton added: "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."

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