'Godfather of AI' regrets what he created and resigns from Google
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Geoffrey Hinton is a technological pioneer who has been referred to as 'the Godfather of AI' - but now he's leaving it all behind to warn of the dangers of his life's work.
But in a slightly terrifying new interview, after resigning from his job for good, Hinton admitted that he regrets the work he did and worries that AI could be far more dangerous than we realise.
Not the most promising thing to hear from an expert.
Between ChatGPT, Snapchat AI, and Dall.E, all the viral videos of artists 'singing' other artists' songs, and scripts, songs and articles being written in the style of whoever you like in seconds flat, it's hard to deny that AI is having a moment. And it's scaring even the biggest names in tech.
Just earlier this year, 1,000 leading tech experts and researchers signed an open letter calling for all AI developments to be put on pause for at least six months to prevent 'profound risks to society and humanity'.
Although Dr Hinton didn't sign that letter when it was published back in March, he has now cut ties with the tech giants and is ready to speak openly about just how much trouble we might be in.
"I don’t think they should scale this up more until they have understood whether they can control it," he told The New York Times in a new interview.
On his own contribution to the danger, he admitted: "I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have."
But, he added: "It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things."
Dr Hinton told the Times that, back in the day, he would talk about the 'potentially dangerous' tech he was working on to Robert Oppenheimer's atomic bomb.
Quoting the theoretical physicist, he used to say: "When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it."
Hinton assured the paper that he doesn't say such things anymore.
All that being said, Geoffrey has insisted that he has no qualms with Google - just AI in general.
Google’s chief scientist, Jeff Dean, has said in a statement following Dr Hinton's resignation: "We remain committed to a responsible approach to AI. We’re continually learning to understand emerging risks while also innovating boldly."
Dr Hinton took to Twitter himself to make sure it was clear he held no ill will toward the tech giant.
"Actually, I left so that I could talk about the dangers of AI without considering how this impacts Google," he wrote. "Google has acted very responsibly."
Dr Hinton noted that, back in the early days of AI, there were just 'a few people' who believed that 'this stuff could actually get smarter than people' in a few decades or so.
But things moved a lot quicker than anyone expected.
"Most people thought it was way off," he said.
"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."