WASHINGTON — Sounding alarms about artificial intelligence has become a popular pastime in the ChatGPT era, taken up by high-profile figures as varied as industrialist Elon Musk, leftist intellectual Noam Chomsky and the 99-year-old retired statesman Henry Kissinger.
But the worries of the insiders within the AI community are what is grabbing the most attention. Geoffrey Hinton , a pioneering researcher who is known as the “Godfather of AI”, quit Google to speak more openly about the risks of the AI technology that he created.
Hinton pioneered work in deep learning and neural network technology over his long career. This helped to lay the groundwork for the AI technologies we use today.
Hinton told BBC . that some of the dangers posed by AI chatbots were “quite frightening”. As far as I’m concerned, right now they aren’t more intelligent than we are. In an interview with MIT Technology Review , Hinton pointed out that “bad actors” could use AI to have negative impacts on society, such as by manipulating elections and inciting violence.
Hinton, 75, says he retired from Google so that he could speak openly about the potential risks as someone who no longer works for the tech giant.
“Hinton told MIT Technology Review that he wanted to speak about AI safety without worrying about the impact on Google’s operations. “As long as I’m paid by Google, I can’t do that.”
Google confirmed that Hinton had retired from his role after 10 years overseeing the Google Research team in Toronto.
Hinton didn’t immediately reply to a comment request from The Associated Press.
At the heart of the debate on the state of AI is whether the primary dangers are in the future or present. On one side are hypothetical scenarios of existential risk caused by computers that supersede human intelligence. The other side is concerned about the automated technology, which has already been widely adopted by governments and businesses. This can lead to real harms.
” “For better or worse, the chatbot has made AI an important national and international discussion that is not limited to AI developers and experts,” Alondra said. Nelson led the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and was responsible for its efforts in crafting guidelines on the responsible usage of AI tools.
“AI is no longer abstract, and we have this kind of opening, I think, to have a new conversation about what we want a democratic future and a non-exploitative future with technology to look like,” Nelson said in an interview last month.
An increasing number of AI scientists have expressed concern about biases in AI, such as racial and gender issues. This includes text-based language models, which are trained using huge amounts of writing from humans and may exacerbate discrimination in the society.
“We must take a step-back and consider who’s needs should be at the forefront of any discussion on risks”, said Sarah Myers West. She is the managing director for the non-profit AI Now Institute. The harms caused by AI today are not equally distributed. It’s very much exacerbating existing patterns of inequality.”
Hinton was one of three AI pioneers who in 2019 won the Turing Award, an honor that has become known as tech industry’s version of the Nobel Prize. The other two winners, Yoshua Bengio and Yann LeCun, have also expressed concerns about the future of AI.
Bengio, an academic and AI prioneer, signed a petition in late March calling for tech companies to agree to a 6-month pause on developing powerful AI systems, while LeCun, a top AI scientist at Facebook parent Meta, has taken a more optimistic approach.
AP Technology Reporter Matt O’Brien reported from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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