According to an interview with The New York Times (via The Verge), Hinton said that his immediate concern is the spread of misinformation and in the longer run, he’s worried about humanity’s existence.
He warned that AI will eliminate jobs and possibly humanity itself as it begins to write and run its own code.
“The idea that this stuff could actually get smarter than people — a few people believed that,” Hinton was quoted as saying.
“But 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,” he added.
Hinton regrets his life’s work
Hinton recently quit his job at Google after being employed by Google for more than a decade. He said that a part of him regrets his life’s work.
“I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have. It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things,” he said.
He won the 2018 Turing Award for their foundational work that led to the current boom in AI.
Hinton joined Google after the company acquired a firm started by Hinton and two of his students. One of his students became chief scientist at OpenAI.
Hinton was happy until…
The interview by the New York Times noted that Hinton was happy with Google’s success with the technology until Microsoft launched the new OpenAI-infused Bing. The launch challenged Google’s core business and reportedly sparked a “code red” in the search giant office.
According to Hinton, such fierce competition might be impossible to stop and it could result in a world with much fake imagery and text that nobody will be able to tell “what is true anymore.”
What Google has to say
“We remain committed to a responsible approach to AI. We’re continually learning to understand emerging risks while also innovating boldly,” Google’s chief scientist, Jeff Dean, said in a statement.
In fact, Hinton also heaped praise on Google saying the company “has acted very responsibly.”
“In the NYT today, Cade Metz implies that I left Google so that I could criticize Google. Actually, I left so that I could talk about the dangers of AI without considering how this impacts Google. Google has acted very responsibly,” he said in a tweet.