Geoffrey Hinton, who has been internationally distinguished for his work on artificial intelligence (AI), has resigned from Google to warn about the dangers of the technology.
Speaking with The New York Times, the British-Canadian computer scientist explained that he quit his decade-long career at Google to speak more freely about the potential risks of AI.
Hinton is just the latest internationally-recognized AI leader to speak about concerns related to AI. In recent months, two open letters, led in part by Yoshua Bengio and with signatures from thousands of tech leaders and researchers, have been published to highlight the rapid pace of AI development and how it could pose threats to society.
Hinton told the New York Times that he didn’t sign either of those letters as he didn’t want to publicly criticize Google or other companies until he resigned.
As companies race to advance their AI systems, Hinton’s concern is that the heated competition in generative AI could lead to spread of misinformation through false photos, videos, and text, on the web, which has already manifested on social media.
In 2012, Hinton and two of his students in Toronto built a neural network that could analyze thousands of photos and teach itself to identify objects, such as flowers, dogs and cars. The group was incorporated, and was later sold to Google for $44 million. This system would lead to the creation of advanced AI platforms, like chatbots ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.
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Generative AI applications like Midjourney and OpenAI’s ChatGPT have faced public criticism within the last year for enabling the spread of misinformation on the internet. Researchers have predicted that this type of technology could make the production and promotion of false information cheaper and more efficient.
In addition to misinformation, generative AI also offers implications for users’ privacy, and copyright infringement, among other risks from AI-generated content.
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