A man widely regarded as the godfather of artificial intelligence (AI) has quit his job to warn of the growing dangers posed by developments in the field.
Geoffrey Hinton, 75, announced in a statement to the New York Times that he has retired from Google, saying he now regrets his job.
He told the BBC that some of the dangers of AI chatbots are “pretty scary.”
“For now, as far as I know, they’re not smarter than us. But I think they’ll be soon.”
Dr Hinton also acknowledged that his age played a role in his decision to leave the tech giant, telling the BBC: “I’m 75, so it’s time to retire.
Dr. Hinton’s groundbreaking work on neural networks and deep learning paved the way for current AI systems like ChatGPT. A neural network in artificial intelligence is a system that resembles the human brain in the way it learns and processes information. This allows AI to learn from experience in the same way humans do. This is called deep learning.
The British-Canadian cognitive psychologist and computer scientist told the BBC that chatbots could soon overtake the information content of the human brain.
“Today, things like GPT-4 overwhelm people with the amount of general knowledge they have and are much smaller. In terms of reasoning, it’s not very good, but it’s already doing basic reasoning,” he said.
“And given the speed of progress, we expect things to get better pretty quickly, so we’ll have to deal with that.’
Dr. Hinton’s article in The New York Times hints at “villains” trying to use AI for “bad things.”
When asked for details by the BBC, he replied: “This is kind of a worst case scenario, kind of a nightmare scenario. “For example, you could imagine that a bad guy like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin decided to give robots the ability to create their own subgoals.”
The scientist warned that this could eventually “generate sub-goals such as ‘I need more power’.”
He added: “I’ve come to the conclusion that the kind of intelligence we’re developing is very different from the intelligence we have.
“We are biological systems and these are digital systems. The big difference is that in digital systems there are many copies of the same set of weights of the same model in the world.” “And all of these copies can learn individually, but they can share knowledge right away. That’s why these chatbots can know so much more than a single person.”
Matt Clifford, chairman of the UK’s Advanced Research and Invention Agency, speaking in a personal capacity, told the BBC that Dr Hinton’s announcement “highlights the speed at which AI capabilities are accelerating.” “While this technology has tremendous benefits, it is critical that the world invests heavily and urgently in AI security and control. Dr. Hinton joins the growing number of experts expressing concerns about AI. It’s about both the speed and direction of AI evolution.
In March, an open letter — co-signed by dozens of people in the AI space, including tech billionaire Elon Musk — called for a pause in development of the AI chatbot ChatGPT, which is more advanced than the current version. Develop and implement robust security measures.
Another so-called godfather of AI, Yoshua Bengio, along Dr. Hinton and Yann LeCun, winners of the 2018 Turing Award for their work in deep learning, also signed the letter.
Mr. Bengio wrote that due to the “unexpected acceleration” of AI systems, “we need to take a step back.”
But Dr Hinton told the BBC that he believes AI will bring more benefits than risks “in the short term” and “so I don’t think we should stop developing things like this.”
He also said that international competition means it’s hard to take breaks. “Even if everyone in the U.S. stopped developing it, China would just have a head start.”
Dr. Hinton also said that he is a science expert, not a politician, that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure the development of AI, and that he is “thinking hard about how to prevent AI from going bad.”
Dr Hinton did not intend to criticize Google, stressing that it acted “very responsible”.
“We remain committed to the responsible use of AI,” Google’s chief scientist Jeff Dean said in a statement.
AI chatbots are currently the most popular, but it’s important to remember that they are just one aspect of artificial intelligence.
AI is behind the algorithms that determine which video streaming platform you should watch next. It can be used for recruiting, filtering claims, calculating premiums from insurance companies, diagnosing diseases, etc.
But what we are seeing now is the rise of AGI (artificial general intelligence). It can be trained to do a variety of things on the job. For example, ChatGPT may only provide a text response to a request, but as you can see the possibilities are endless. But the pace of AI acceleration has surprised even its creators. Since his PhD, Hinton has made dramatic progress in 2012 with his groundbreaking neural network for image analysis. Even his CEO at Google, Sundar Pichai, said in a recent interview that he doesn’t fully understand all that his AI chatbot Bard is doing.
Undoubtedly, we are now on high-speed trains, and it is feared that one day it will start building our own tracks.
“Actually, I have some nice things to say about Google, and they’re more reliable when I’m not working at Google.”