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AI godfather Geoffrey Hinton quits Google, warning of gangsters in the making


Geoffrey Hinton, a prominent figure in the world of artificial intelligence (AI), has resigned from his role at Google, citing concerns over the potential risks of AI. Hinton, who is widely regarded as the father of deep learning, expressed regret over his work in a statement, according to several reports. He cautioned that chatbots powered by AI could soon exceed the intelligence of humans, calling the possibility “quite alarming.”

Hinton has been a pioneer in the development of deep learning, a subset of machine learning that uses algorithms to enable machines to learn from data. He has also been a vocal advocate for the responsible development of AI, warning of the potential risks of the technology.

In his statement, Hinton stated that he had become increasingly concerned about the potential dangers of AI, including the possibility that machines could become more intelligent than humans. He called for greater research into the safety and security of AI systems and urged caution in the development of the technology.

Hinton’s resignation from Google marks a significant loss for the company, which has been a leader in the development of AI technologies. His departure highlights the growing concerns over the potential risks of AI and the need for greater scrutiny of the technology.

Could soon overtake human

Hinton’s pioneering research on neural networks and deep learning has paved the way for current AI systems like ChatGPT, which he believes could soon overtake the level of information held by the human brain. 

Neural networks are systems that operate in a way similar to the human brain, allowing AIs to learn and process information through experience, known as deep learning.

He also expressed concern about the “scary” potential of AI chatbots and the rate at which AI capabilities are accelerating. However, he warns that AI chatbots may soon overtake human intelligence and the rate of progress is accelerating quickly.

“Right now, 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,” he said.

“And given the rate of progress, we expect things to get better quite fast. So we need to worry about that.”

Possibility of bad actors using AI

Hinton warned about the possibility of “bad actors” who would use AI for nefarious purposes, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin giving robots the ability to create their sub-goals, which could eventually lead to goals like “I need to get more power.” 

Further, he stressed that the kind of intelligence being developed is very different from human intelligence, as digital systems have many copies of the same set of weights, allowing them to learn separately and share knowledge instantly.

While Hinton believes that AI will deliver many benefits in the short term, he joins a growing number of experts who have expressed concerns about the direction of AI development. 

Matt Clifford, chairman of the UK’s Advanced Research and Invention Agency, said that Hinton’s announcement “underlines the rate at which AI capabilities are accelerating” and emphasised the need for investment in AI safety and control.

Hinton acknowledged that a pause in AI development would be difficult due to international competition, as China would likely gain a significant advantage if the US halted AI development. 

He believes that it is the responsibility of the government to ensure AI is developed “with a lot of thought into how to stop it going rogue.”

Further, Hinton stressed that he did not want to criticise Google and that the tech giant had been “very responsible.” 

Google’s chief scientist Jeff Dean said that the company remains committed to a responsible approach to AI, continually learning to understand emerging risks while innovating boldly.

Growing concerns about potential dangers of AI

It is worth noting that AI chatbots are just one aspect of artificial intelligence, which is being used in a variety of industries and applications. 

AI is behind the algorithms used by video-streaming platforms, recruitment filters, insurance premium calculations, and medical diagnoses. 

The rise of AGI (artificial general intelligence), which can be trained to do several things within a remit, has surprised even its creators.

Hinton’s resignation highlights growing concerns about the potential dangers of AI and the need for a responsible approach to its development. 

While the benefits of AI are considerable, there is a pressing need to ensure that AI is developed safely and with appropriate safeguards to mitigate potential risks.

Image credits: rrokas91/DepositPhotos

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