AI godfather Geoffrey Hinton leaves Google: “Technology can be dangerous”

Geoffrey Hinton has announced his resignation from Google and has warned of the dangers of AI, artificial intelligence. But who is he and why is his step back important? The 75-year-old is a computer scientist considered one of the most influential researchers in the development of Artificial Intelligence, also known as the “godfather” or “pioneer” of AI. The news of the abandonment of the online services giant came with a statement from the man to New York Times in which he claims to have regretted his work. At the BBCHinton explained that he thinks some of the dangers of AI chatbots are “pretty scary”.

Hinton’s warnings about the dangers of AI

Still with regard to chatbots, the software that simulates and processes human conversations by being able to write articles, copy and all kinds of content, Hinton said that “at the moment, they are not smarter than us, as far as I know. But I think they may soon be.” With his pioneering research on deep learning and neural networks, it was the 75-year-old who pioneered current AI systems like ChatGPT. But the British-Canadian cognitive psychologist and computer scientist stated, also alla BBC, that the chatbot could soon surpass the level of information held by a human brain. “Right now, what we’re seeing is that things like GPT-4 – he explained – eclipse a person in the amount of general knowledge they have and it far eclipses them”. The fear is that “given the pace of progress, there we expect things to improve pretty quickly. So we have to worry about that.”

AI could be used for negative purposes

In the article of New York Times, Hinton referred to people who may be using these new technologies for uneditable purposes like “getting more power.” “The type of intelligence we are developing – highlighted the computer scientist – is very different from the intelligence we have. We are biological systems and these are digital systems. And the big difference is that with digital systems you have many copies of the same set of weights, the same model of the world.” All these copies can learn separately and instantly share their knowledge, so “it’s like you have 10,000 people and every time one person has learned something, everyone automatically knows it. And that’s how these chatbots can know much more than any human.” In any case, Hinton specified that he did not want to criticize Google, stressing that the tech giant was “very responsible”. “Actually I want to say some positive things about Google – he added – and they are more credible if I don’t work for Google”.