Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, a scientist regarded as one of the “godfathers” of artificial intelligence technology, left his position at Google to openly discuss the dangers of the technology.
Hinton discussed his strong reservations about the technology in an interview with the New York Times.
He said, “It’s challenging to envision how you can stop the bad actors from abusing it. Compare [AI technology’s] state five years ago with its state today. Take the difference and spread it out. It’s frightening.”
Dr. Hinton has been working in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) since the 1970s, when, as a doctoral student at the University of Edinburgh, he was one of the first users of a “neural network,” a mathematical system that acquires expertise by examining data.
According to him, Google was a “proper steward” of AI up until 2022, when Microsoft’s new Bing search engine, which used OpenAI, challenged the core business of the search engine giant. At that point, Google started a “code red” response to address the challenge.
He did, however, dispute some of the Times’ claims in a tweet this morning, claiming that Google “acted very responsibly” and that he left so he could “talk about the dangers of AI without considering how [it] impacts Google,” not so he could berate the business.
A statement from Jeff Dean, head of Google’s science division, read: “We remain committed to a responsible approach to AI. We’re continually learning to understand emerging risks while also innovating boldly.”
In the short term, Dr. Hinton fears that the spread of fake images, videos, and text will make it difficult for the average internet user to determine “what is true anymore,” and in the long run, she fears that the automation of routine chores would completely change the employment market.
“It takes away the drudge work… it may take away more than that,” he remarked.
In the future, Dr. Hinton might even imagine a sci-fi novel coming to pass in which AI systems not only create code but also execute it autonomously, eradicating mankind as a whole.