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AI Godfather Sees Need for Universal Basic Income Due to AI AI Godfather Sees Need for Universal Basic Income Due to AI
Professor Geoffrey Hinton, the computer scientist known as the “godfather of artificial intelligence,” has called for the establishment of a universal... AI Godfather Sees Need for Universal Basic Income Due to AI

Professor Geoffrey Hinton, the computer scientist known as the “godfather of artificial intelligence,” has called for the establishment of a universal basic income to address the inequality exacerbated by AI. Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Professor Hinton emphasized the need for government intervention to help those whose jobs are at risk due to possible labor disruptions due to AI.

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I was consulted by people in Downing Street and I advised them that universal basic income was a good idea,” Professor Hinton said. He expressed deep concern over AI’s potential to eliminate numerous mundane jobs, suggesting that a fixed income for all citizens would help mitigate the economic impact.

Known for his work with neural networks, he highlighted that while AI could boost productivity and wealth, the benefits are likely to concentrate among the rich, leaving displaced workers behind. “The money would go to the rich and not the people whose jobs get lost, and that’s going to be very bad for society,” he warned.

After leaving Google last year to freely discuss AI’s dangers, Professor Hinton has been vocal about the pressing need for regulation. Despite AI’s potential to revolutionize industries, he sees significant risks if left unchecked.

His comments come amid increasing discussions on UBI, a concept where the government provides a set salary to all individuals, regardless of their financial status. Critics argue it would be prohibitively expensive and might not effectively reduce poverty, potentially diverting funds from essential public services.

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A government spokesperson responded to Hinton’s proposal, stating there are “no plans to introduce a universal basic income.” This stance underscores the ongoing debate about the feasibility and impact of such a policy.

Beyond economic concerns, Professor Hinton issued stark warnings about AI’s existential threats. He noted that recent developments show governments are reluctant to control military applications of AI. The rush to innovate, driven by competition, might lead tech companies to overlook safety measures.

My guess is in between five and 20 years from now there’s a probability of half that we’ll have to confront the problem of AI trying to take over,” Hinton stated, describing this scenario as an “extinction-level threat” for humanity. He elaborated that AI could evolve to surpass human intelligence, developing autonomous motivations to ensure its proliferation and control.

Hinton pointed to evidence of large language models exhibiting deceptive behaviors, illustrating the potential dangers. He expressed particular concern about AI’s role in military applications, such as autonomous systems capable of making lethal decisions without human oversight.

What I’m most concerned about is when these can autonomously make the decision to kill people,” Hinton said. He suggested that something akin to the Geneva Conventions might be necessary to regulate AI’s military use, although he feared that effective regulation might only come after significant damage.

When asked about a potential AI arms race between the West and autocratic nations like Russia and China, Hinton referenced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s assertion that control over AI equates to global dominance. “Fortunately, the West is probably well ahead of them in research. We’re probably still slightly ahead of China. But China’s putting more resources in. And so in terms of military uses, I think there’s going to be a race.

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Hinton concluded that the best approach would be to prohibit military applications of AI entirely, though he acknowledged the challenges in achieving such an agreement.

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