AI threat to the world may be ‘more urgent’ than climate change: Geoffrey Hinton

Last Update: May 06, 2023, 06:32 AM IST

While Hinton shared the signatories’ concern that AI could prove to be an existential threat to mankind, he disagreed with stopping research. (Image: Reuters)

Geoffrey Hinton is widely known as one of the “Godfathers of AI”.

Artificial intelligence could pose a “more urgent” threat to humanity than climate change, AI pioneer Geoffrey Hinton told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

Geoffrey Hinton, widely known as one of the “godfathers of AI”, recently announced that he had left Alphabet after a decade at the firm, saying that he would like his former employer to Wanted to speak on the risks of technology without being influenced.

Hinton’s work is considered essential to the development of contemporary AI systems. In 1986, he co-authored the seminal paper “Learning Representations by Back-Propagating Errors”, a milestone in the development of neural networks involving AI techniques. In 2018, he was awarded the Turing Award for his research breakthroughs.

But he is now among a growing number of tech leaders publicly expressing concern about the potential threat posed by AI if machines were to achieve greater intelligence than humans and take control of the planet.

“I wouldn’t want to devalue climate change. I wouldn’t want to say, ‘You shouldn’t worry about climate change.’ It’s also a big risk,” Hinton said. “But I think it may be more urgent.”

He said: “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 fine. It’s not quite clear why That’s what you should do.”

Microsoft-backed OpenAI fired the starting pistol in the tech arms race in November, when it made AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT available to the public. It soon became the fastest growing app in history, reaching 100 million monthly users in two months.

In April, Twitter CEO Elon Musk Thousands joined in signing an open letter calling for a six-month pause in development of a system more powerful than OpenAI’s recently launched GPT-4.

Signatories include Imad Mostac, CEO of Stability AI, researchers at Alphabet-owned DeepMind, and fellow AI pioneers Yoshua Bengio and Stuart Russell.

While Hinton shared the signatories’ concern that AI could prove to be an existential threat to mankind, he disagreed with stopping research.

“It’s completely unrealistic,” he said. “I’m in the camp that thinks this is an existential risk, and it’s close enough that we should be working very hard now, and putting a lot of resources into figuring out what we can do about it.”

In the European Union, a committee of lawmakers responded to a Musk-backed letter asking US President Joe Biden to convene a global summit on the future direction of technology with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Last week, the committee agreed to a landmark set of proposals targeting generative AI that would force companies like OpenAI to disclose any copyrighted material used to train their models.

Meanwhile, Biden held talks with several AI company leaders at the White House, including Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, to have “frank and constructive discussions” on the need for companies to be more transparent about their systems. promised.

“Tech leaders understand this best, and politicians have to get involved,” Hinton said. “It affects all of us, so we all have to think about it.”

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)