When it comes to the field of artificial intelligence, three pioneers stand above the rest. Often collectively known as the Godfathers of AI, they are Yoshua Bengio, Yann LeCun, and Geoffrey Hinton. Hinton, in particular, is viewed as a leading figure in the field of deep learning and has published an important paper on the backpropagation algorithm for training multi-layer neural networks. However, in a shocking move, he recently quit his job at Google so he could speak more freely about the risks of AI. In a recent interview, he even said that a part of him regretted all the work he did in the field of artificial intelligence now.
In a conversation with The New York Times, Hinton said, highlighting his regret, “I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have”. Hinton has now joined a growing number of researchers who all believe that the dangers of AI are being ignored by the companies that are aggressively pushing to create AI products.
Godfather of AI warns against the AI danger
In the journey of AI technology, this moment marks an inflection point where one of the key personalities who laid the foundation for this technology has today become one of its worst critics. And the criticism is not without any merits. Some of the most immediate threats include a high volume of fake news and propaganda sharing online, loss of jobs, misinformation and biased information ad more. In the long run, a superintelligent form of this technology even threatens the existence of humanity.
In March, after OpenAI, a pioneer in generative and conversational AI, released a new version of ChatGPT. This was the first time when an organized effort against the exponential growth of artificial intelligence was seen for the first time. Future of Life Institute started a petition to pause all AI activities for six months so that a better regulation framework can be created, which was signed by more than 1000 technology leaders and scientists including Elon Musk, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak and Bengio, one of the Godfather trio.
The 75-years old and Turing Award winner Hinton neither signed the petition nor had spoken publicly about this issue as he was still working with Google Brain, the technology wing of the company that is dedicated to artificial intelligence.
This also means that two out of the three pioneers of the technology now stand against it. And it stands to reason that these technologists see something regular folks likely cannot. The risks of AI exceed what humans can conceive at this stage. However, with its breakneck speed of advancement, it may not be long till those fears turn into reality.
“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,” Hinton told The New York Times.