If you’ve seen any science fiction movie, whether it’s a classic like The Terminator or something more recent like Megan, you’re probably familiar with the storyline where artificial intelligence threatens the world’s safety.
Recent rapid advancements in AI kicked off by the release of ChatGPT may make those threats less of a fiction and more of a reality.
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Geoffrey Hinton, deemed as one of the “godfathers of AI” because of his essential contributions to the space, recently quit his position at Alphabet after a decade at the firm because he wanted to speak out about the risks of AI.
In a recent interview with Reuters, Hinton went as far as comparing the risk of AI to those of climate change.
“I wouldn’t like to devalue climate change. I wouldn’t like to say, ‘You shouldn’t worry about climate change.’ That’s a huge risk too,” Hinton told Reuters. “But I think this might end up being more urgent.”
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He isn’t the first to vocalize concerns about the dangers of AI. Other tech leaders including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Emad Mostaque, CEO of Stability AI signed a petition to put a halt to giant AI experiments.
However, Hinton’s concerns carry significant weight due to his extensive contributions and experience in the field of AI.
In 1986, Hinton co-authored a paper on backpropagation, a milestone that has been critical in today’s success of neural network applications and deep learning underlying AI technology. His contributions even earned him a Turing Award in 2018.
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Hinton suggests that the topic of AI is more difficult to solve as there isn’t a simple remedy one can prescribe to mitigate the potential dangers.
“With climate change, it’s very easy to recommend what you should do: You just stop burning carbon. If you do that, eventually things will be okay,” Hinton told Reuters. “For this, it’s not at all clear what you should do.”
Despite the concerns raised, it appears that advancements in AI continue among industry players. Just last week Microsoft opened access to its AI chatbot to everyone and announced major AI updates coming soon to Bing and Edge.