AI 'godfather' Geoffrey Hinton describes ‘nightmare scenario’ as he quits Google with warnings

2 May 2023, 11:53

Geoffrey Hinton quit Google and warned of the dangers of the tech he helped to create
Geoffrey Hinton quit Google and warned of the dangers of the tech he helped to create. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

The man described as the ‘godfather’ of artificial intelligence has announced he has quit Google with a warning about the impact of the technology.

Dr Geoffrey Hinton, 75, who carried out pioneering research of neural networks that paved the way for current AI like ChatGPT, said some of the dangers of the technology were ‘quite scary’ - and that he has regrets about his contributions to the field.

He said there were levels of risk that could see the technology hijacked by ‘bad actors’.

He imagined a ‘worst-case’ or ‘nightmare’ scenario in which robots could be given the ability to create their own ‘sub goals’ that could include things like: “I need to get more power.”

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He also issued caution over the power of AI systems, saying: “ 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.”

Google’s chief scientist, Jeff Dean said in a statement that Google appreciated Hinton’s contributions to the company over the past decade.“I’ve deeply enjoyed our many conversations over the years. I’ll miss him, and I wish him well!

“As one of the first companies to publish AI Principles, we remain committed to a responsible approach to AI.”

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