Geoffrey Hinton, one of the three influential pioneers of Artificial Intelligence (AI) recognized as the “Godfather of AI,” was awarded the renowned 2018 Turing Award for fundamental contributions towards the current proliferation of AI. However, Hinton revealed that a particular aspect of his work had instilled regret.
As per his interview with The New York Times, Hinton shared that he recently resigned from his decade-long tenure at Google, where he established a reputable standing in the field. His departure can be attributed to his aspiration for open and honest discussions concerning the plausible risks associated with AI.
In the NYT today, Cade Metz implies that I left Google so that I could criticize Google. Actually, I left so that I could talk about the dangers of AI without considering how this impacts Google. Google has acted very responsibly.
— Geoffrey Hinton (@geoffreyhinton) May 1, 2023
“I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have,” Hinton told NYT during the interview.
The evolution of Hinton’s career trajectory from a pioneering figure in AI to a bearer of apocalyptic warnings signals a significant turning point for the technology industry, as it currently stands at a crucial junction in decades. It should be pointed out that various AI experts and industry influencers, such as Elon Musk, have affixed their signatures to an open letter concerning the release of ChatGPT and other generative AI models. The letter expressed the need for a six-month hiatus on AI innovation that could potentially pose risks to society.
According to the New York Times, Hinton informed Google of his resignation last month and had a direct conversation with CEO Sundar Pichai on Thursday. The specifics of their discussion were not made public. Hinton began his career at Google after the company acquired a firm he founded with two students, one of whom later became chief scientist at OpenAI. Through their work, they developed a neural network that utilized photo analysis to teach itself to recognize common objects, which ultimately contributed to the development of ChatGPT and Google Bard.
Based on the interview, Hinton expressed contentment with Google’s management of the technology until the introduction of Microsoft’s OpenAI-enhanced Bing. This posed a significant threat to Google’s core business, prompting a robust response. Hinton opined that such cut-throat competition may prove insurmountable, leading to a reality where fake media and information pervade to the extent that truth becomes indistinguishable. “It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things,” he said.