A man widely regarded as the godfather of artificial intelligence (AI) has quit his job to warn of the growing dangers of developments in the field.
Geoffrey Hinton, 75, announced his resignation from Google in a statement to the New York Times, saying he now regrets his job.
He told the BBC that some of the dangers of AI chatbots are “very scary”.
“For now, as far as I know, they’re not smarter than us. But I think they might be soon.”
Dr. Hinton’s pioneering work in deep learning and neural networks paved the way for current AI systems like ChatGPT.
But the British-Canadian cognitive psychologist and computer scientist told the BBC that chatbots could soon surpass the level of information held by the human brain.
“Right now, what we’re seeing is GPT-4 outperforming humans in the amount of general knowledge it has, and outperforming humans in the long run. No, but you already do, simple reasoning.
“And given the speed of progress, we expect things to improve very quickly, so we should be concerned about that.”
In a New York Times article, Dr. Hinton referred to “villains” who try to use AI for “bad things.”
When asked by the BBC to elaborate on this, he replied: “This is kind of a worst case scenario, kind of a nightmare scenario.
“For example, you can imagine a bad actor like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin decided to give robots the ability to create their own subgoals. ”
The scientist warned that this could eventually “generate sub-goals such as ‘I need to gain more power’.”
“We came to the conclusion that the kind of intelligence we are developing is very different from the intelligence we have.
“We are biological systems and these are digital systems. The big difference is that in digital systems we have the same set of weights, many copies of the same model of the world.
“And all of these copies can learn individually, but they can share their knowledge instantly. This is how these chatbots can learn so much more than just one person.”
Dr. Hinton also said there are several other reasons why people quit their jobs.
“One was that I am 75 years old, so it was time to retire. It’s more reliable if you don’t.
He didn’t mean to criticize Google, stressing that it was “very responsible”.
Google Chief Scientist Jeff Dean said in a statement: