AI legend resigns from Google & warns of risks from AIs like ChatGPT

Geoff Hinton with Google logo on blue backgroundYouTube / Google

AI pioneer Geoffrey Hinton has resigned from Google, reportedly regretting his life’s work, and warns others about the risks that generative AI poses to the world in an interview with the New York Times.

As the tech industry is embroiled in an AI arms race from the likes of OpenAI, Microsoft, Google, and more, Geoffrey Hinton, an AI pioneer has resigned from his post at Google to warn the general public about the potential dangers of generative AI.

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In an interview with the New York Times, Hinton revealed that he has resigned from his post at Google in order to freely discuss AI. Hinton explains how he regrets his life’s work. The tech industry is quickly racing rapidly toward the zenith of AI-generated content, with tools like ChatGPT becoming increasingly commonplace.

Hinton’s work includes the early development of the first “neural networks”, which are the things that power generative AI models like GPT-4. Hinton and his collaborators even received a Turing Award for their efforts. One of Hinton’s old researchers, Ilya Sutskever, now works as the Chief Scientist at OpenAI.

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Hinton now “regrets” his life’s work, according to the report. “I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have,” Hinton claimed in his eye-opening interview with the New York Times. “It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things.”

Google issues statement

Google Logo alongside mobile phoneGoogle

Hinton allegedly notified Google of his resignation last month and even talked to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai directly before his departure. Amidst the storm of his resignation, Google’s Chief Scientist, Jeff Dean issued a statement.

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“We remain committed to a responsible approach to AI. We’re continually learning to understand emerging risks while also innovating boldly.”

The boiling point for Hinton came following the launch of Bing AI, where Google then sparked its research divisions to come up with a response of its own as competition for AI-infused search raged on. The end result was Bard.

This became the source of Hinton’s displeasure, citing that the advancement of AI is going so fast that no one will be able to know “what is true anymore”, especially when you consider the holistic usage of AI across a number of applications like Adobe Firefly, OpenAI and more. It’s even documented that GPT-4 is more likely to provide false information.

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The AI pioneer also claims that the technology could also heavily disrupt the jobs market, with everyone from assistants, to translators, and more potentially coming affected. “It takes away the drudge work,” he said. “It might take away more than that.”

“The idea that this stuff could actually get smarter than people — a few people believed that,” said Hinton to The New York Times. But, he did not anticipate that the AI reckoning would come as fast as it has over the last seven months.

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“…most people thought it was way off. And I thought it was way off. I thought it was 30 to 50 years or even longer away. Obviously, I no longer think that.”