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Godfather of AI: I Regret What I’ve Done

The AI arms race will blur fact and fiction, says Geoffrey Hinton

Geoffrey Hinton, often regarded as the “godfather of AI,” sat down with The New York Times and shared his concerns over the new arms race in artificial intelligence. Hinton was instrumental in AI research and is considered a pioneer in the field. Hinton revealed his departure from Google, where he worked for over a decade. Since the debut of ChatGPT-3 in November of 2022, Google has been struggling to maintain its longtime search engine dominance, trying to infuse an AI chatbot into its own search feature, alongside competitors like Microsoft.

“I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have,” Hinton said.

Hinton thinks that the proliferation of artificially contrived images, text, etc., will make it increasingly difficult to separate fact from fiction. We will be so flooded with AI-generated content that we won’t know what’s real. Given this is already a substantial issue with the internet itself, it’s easy to see how AI might worsen the problem. With Big Tech fighting for AI dominance, accuracy and reality will get lost in the aftermath. Additionally, bad actors will (and already have) leverage AI for criminal purposes. (See Richard Stevens’ article on the criminal use of AI here.) Cade Metz writes for the Times,

Dr. Hinton said that when people used to ask him how he could work on technology that was potentially dangerous, he would paraphrase Robert Oppenheimer, who led the U.S. effort to build the atomic bomb: “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it.”

He does not say that anymore.

-Cade Metz, ‘The Godfather of AI’ Quits Google and Warns of Danger Ahead – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

AI systems are “technically sweet” to many developers in the industry. It’s telling, however, to hear caution voiced by one of the men responsible for creating modern AI in the first place.

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Godfather of AI: I Regret What I’ve Done