Geoffrey Hinton, one of artificial intelligence’s pioneers, has resigned from tech giant Google and issued a warning of impending peril as AI emerges from the realm of science fiction.
Hinton, 75, expressed regret for his life’s work and stated that he quit his position to speak openly about the dangers of artificial intelligence. Hinton told the New York Times in an interview, “I console myself with the typical justification: If I hadn’t done it, someone else would have.”
As the interview made ripples around the globe, the tech pioneer tweeted that he left Google to discuss the dangers of artificial intelligence and not to criticize the tech company.
In an interview with the New York Times, Hinton warned of the potential dangers of artificial intelligence by stating, “It is difficult to see how you can prevent bad actors from using it for bad.”
As companies enhance their AI systems, the tech pioneer believes they become increasingly dangerous. “Compare how AI technology was five years ago to how it is now,” he said. “Propagate the difference in a forward direction. That is frightening, Hinton said.
The Turing Award recipient also spoke with the BBC and stated that he has concluded that the type of intelligence AI is developing is vastly distinct from human intelligence.
“We are biological systems and these are digital systems,” Hinton told the BBC. “With digital systems, you have multiple copies of the same model of the world, and all these copies can learn independently but share their knowledge instantly. This is how these chat apps can know so much more than any one person.”
Hinton also described avatars as “quite frightening.” He stated that current chatbots are not as intelligent as humans, but that could change in the near future. “As far as I can tell, they are not more intelligent than us at the moment. But I believe they will be shortly,” he told BBC.
Hinton said he left Google due of his age.
“I’m 75, so it’s time for me to retire.”Hinton, a British immigrant to Canada, devoted the majority of his academic career to AI research. As a graduate student at the University of Edinburgh in 1972, Hinton began working on the concept of a neural network. A neural network is a mathematical system that acquires new skills through data analysis.
In 2012, Hinton and two of his Toronto-based students, Ilya Sutskever and Alex Krishevsky, developed a neural network capable of analyzing thousands of photographs and teaching itself to recognize common objects such as flowers, dogs, and automobiles.
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Google acquired a company founded by Hinton and two of his students for $44 million, and their neural network led to the development of chatbots such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google Bard.