The “Godfather of AI,” Geoffrey Hinton, acknowledged on Monday that he left Google last week in order to speak out against the “dangers” of the technology he helped create. Hinton, 75, announced his departure from Google in a message to the New York Times, saying he now regretted his work.
Hinton tweeted that he had left his position at Google so that he could freely discuss the dangers of AI. “In the NYT today, Cade Metz implies that I left Google so that I could criticize Google,” he wrote in a tweet. “Actually, I departed so that I could discuss the risks of AI without taking into account how this affects Google. Google acted in a very responsible manner.”
He stated, “I can now just speak freely about what I think the dangers might be,” in a Monday interview with the BBC. “And some of them are really frightening. They don’t appear to be any smarter than we are at the moment, as far as I can tell. However, I believe they soon might be.”
Notably, Hinton was one of the most esteemed experts in the field and spent more than a decade working for Google. When he collaborated with two graduate students in Toronto in 2012, he made his most significant AI discovery. According to the NYT, the group was successful in developing an algorithm that could examine pictures and recognise common objects like dogs and cars. He collaborated on the project with a student who is now the principal scientist of OpenAI.
According to CNN, his groundbreaking work on neural networks influenced artificial intelligence systems, which are at the heart of many modern technologies like ChatGPT. He did, however, warn the BBC that chatbots might soon surpass the amount of knowledge a human brain can store.