Friday, 22 Sep 2023

Godfather of AI Geoffrey Hinton quits Google and warns over dangers of misinformation

Godfather of AI Geoffrey Hinton quits Google and warns over dangers of misinformation


Godfather of AI Geoffrey Hinton quits Google and warns over dangers of misinformation

The man often touted as the godfather of AI has quit Google, citing concerns over the flood of misinformation, the possibility for AI to upend the job market, and the "existential risk" posed by the creation of a true digital intelligence.

Dr Geoffrey Hinton, who with two of his students at the University of Toronto built a neural net in 2012, quit Google this week, as first reported by the New York Times.

Hinton, 75, said he quit to speak freely about the dangers of AI, and in part regrets his contribution to the field. He was brought on by Google a decade ago to help develop the company's AI technology, and the approach he pioneered led the way for current systems such as ChatGPT.

He told the New York Times that until last year he believed Google had been a "proper steward" of the technology, but that changed once Microsoft started incorporating a chatbot into its Bing search engine, and the company began becoming concerned about the risk to its search business.

Some of the dangers of AI chatbots were "quite scary", he told the BBC, warning they could become more intelligent than humans and could be exploited by "bad actors". "It's able to produce lots of text automatically so you can get lots of very effective spambots. It will allow authoritarian leaders to manipulate their electorates, things like that."

But, he added, he was also concerned about the "existential risk of what happens when these things get more intelligent than us.

"I've come to the conclusion that the kind of intelligence we're developing is very different from the intelligence we have," he said. "So it's as if you had 10,000 people and whenever one person learned something, everybody automatically knew it. And that's how these chatbots can know so much more than any one person."

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