Artificial intelligence pioneer Geoffrey Hinton, widely regarded as "the Godfather of A.I.," has resigned from his position at Google after more than a decade to voice concerns about the dangers of generative artificial intelligence.
This technology, which powers chatbots like ChatGPT, has gained traction among the largest tech companies, who consider it integral to their future.
Dr. Hinton's departure from Google marks a significant moment for the industry, which believes that new A.I. systems could be as revolutionary as the introduction of the web browser in the early 1990s.
Potential breakthroughs include advancements in drug research and education. However, many industry insiders are concerned about the risks associated with these technologies, such as their use for spreading misinformation, job displacement, and the potential threat to humanity.
In March, following OpenAI's release of a new version of ChatGPT, over 1,000 technology leaders and researchers signed an open letter requesting a six-month moratorium on the development of new systems, citing the profound risks A.I. technologies pose to society and humanity.
Several days later, 19 current and former leaders of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence released their own letter warning of A.I. risks.
Dr. Hinton did not sign either of these letters, instead opting to resign from Google before publicly criticizing the company or others. He has expressed concerns about the internet becoming saturated with false information and the potential displacement of jobs by A.I. technologies.
Furthermore, he fears that future versions of the technology may pose a threat to humanity due to their potential to learn unexpected behavior from vast amounts of data, as well as the development of autonomous weapons.
Many experts, including some of Dr. Hinton's former students and colleagues, argue that these threats are speculative.
However, Dr. Hinton believes that the competitive race between tech giants like Google and Microsoft could escalate into a global race that can only be stopped through international regulation.
He calls for collaboration among the world's leading scientists to control the technology, urging them to understand and manage it before scaling up further.
Dr. Hinton, once an advocate for pushing the boundaries of technology, has now distanced himself from this mindset, emphasizing the need for caution and responsibility in the face of potential dangers posed by artificial intelligence.