On his way out of Google, Geoffrey Hinton, pioneering researcher and the so-called “Godfather of AI,” left his role at the tech giant so he could be more open about concerns he has with AI. While speaking with the BBC, Hinton warned of the rapid advancement of AI, “Right now, they’re not more intelligent than us, as far as I can tell. But I think they soon may be.”
This is a stark warning from a researcher who has not only been a trailblazer in artificial intelligence technology but has first-hand experience with some of the most advanced research on the subject. While speaking with MIT Technology Review, Geoffrey Hinton also pointed to how AI could be used by “bad actors.”
These bad actors could do a great deal of damage to society according to Hinton. And as reports of deepfake phone call scams continue to rise, he might be correct. So this is the reason why he left Google. In his view, it’s time to talk about the risks associated with AI, without negatively affecting the company.
He said in part, “I want to talk about AI safety issues without having to worry about how it interacts with Google’s business…As long as I’m paid by Google, I can’t do that.” Though some might see this as a knock against his former employer, Hinton wants to make clear that’s not the case at all.
He said of Google that the company “acted very responsibly” regarding AI technology. He also went on to explain to MIT Technology Review that there are also “a lot of good things about Google.” But he recognized that his comments would be “much more credible if I’m not at Google anymore.”
Over the last few months tech professionals, federal agencies, and even trade groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have sounded the alarm. In many cases, these groups have called on greater government oversight of AI technology as its rapid ascendance across industries has only increased.
To put this into perspective. Goldman Sachs released a report earlier this spring on the economic impact of generative AI. According to that report, AI could have a massive impact on Global GDP, while another report showed that hundreds of millions of jobs will likely be impacted by AI.
Either way, it’s clear that calls for a greater focus on responsible AI will continue to grow as the technology continues to stale throughout society.