British-Canadian cognitive psychologist and computer scientist Geoffrey Hinton, most noted for his work on artificial neural networks – artificial Intelligence (AI) has resigned from Google warning about growing dangers from AI and about his regrets of his work.
The 75-year-old in his resignation letter said the dangers of AI chatbots were “quite scary”.
“Right now, they’re not more intelligent than us, as far as I can tell. But I think they soon may be.”
Dr Hinton also accepted that his age had played into his decision to leave the tech giant, saying: “I’m 75, so it’s time to retire.”
Dr Hinton’s pioneering research on neural networks and deep learning has paved the way for current AI systems like ChatGPT.
In artificial intelligence, neural networks are systems that are similar to the human brain in the way they learn and process information. They enable AIs to learn from experience, as a person would – called deep learning.
“Right now, what we’re seeing is things like GPT-4 eclipses a person in the amount of general knowledge it has and it eclipses them by a long way. In terms of reasoning, it’s not as good, but it does already do simple reasoning,” Hinton said.
“And given the rate of progress, we expect things to get better quite fast. So we need to worry about that.”
Dr Hinton made reference to “bad actors” who would try to use AI for “bad things”. “This is just a kind of worst-case scenario, kind of a nightmare scenario.
“You can imagine, for example, some bad actor like [Russian President Vladimir] Putin decided to give robots the ability to create their own sub-goals.”
The scientist warned that this eventually might “create sub-goals like ‘I need to get more power'”.
He added: “I’ve come to the conclusion that the kind of intelligence we’re developing is very different from the intelligence we have.