Wed May 10 2023
Founders & Tech Leaders

Why Google's 'Godfather of AI' Resigned

Tazeen Fatima
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Geoffrey Hinton, a leading computer scientist and the so-called 'Godfather of AI,' recently announced his resignation from Google. Hinton's departure is significant, as he was one of the most prominent researchers in the company's AI division, and his work was critical to the development of AI technologies, such as deep learning.

Hinton was a distinguished professor at the University of Toronto, where he was a founding member of the Department of Computer Science and was affiliated with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. Hinton is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of deep learning, a subset of machine learning that has been instrumental in developing AI technologies such as speech recognition and image recognition. He has received numerous awards and accolades for his work in the field of AI, including the Turing Award, often referred to as the "Nobel Prize of Computing."

According to the New York Times, all was good between Hinton and Google until Microsoft launched the new OpenAI-based Bing, which sparked a "code red" at Google.

Why Did Hinton Resign from Google?

In his tweet, Hinton mentioned that his reasons for leaving Google are related to his concerns about the potential dangers of AI that he couldn't talk about while being associated with Google. He believes that AI systems could become too powerful and be used in ways that could harm society. Hinton has been vocal about his concerns for years, warning that AI systems must be developed in a responsible and ethical manner.

The Risks of AI

“It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things.” - Hinton.

While AI can potentially transform various industries and improve people's lives in many ways, it also possesses significant risks. One of the most significant being its potential for bias or discrimination. AI systems trained on biased data can perpetuate and amplify existing biases, leading to discrimination against certain groups. This could have serious implications in areas such as hiring, lending and criminal justice.

Another significant risk of AI which Hinton fears is the spreading of misinformation. As AI technology advances, it may be used to create sophisticated fake videos, images or audio that are indistinguishable from the real thing. This can heavily impact national security, along with political and personal privacy.

The AI Dystopia that Hinton Feared is No Longer a Distant Possibility

Hinton’s nightmare is becoming a reality as AI's impact on the job market gets more apparent. Here are some facts to ponder upon:

- IBM halts hiring for 7,800 as AI takes over the workforce

Arvind Krishna, the CEO of IBM, pauses hiring for multiple positions - says he could see 30% of back-office functions replaced by AI over five years.

- Goldman Sachs reports 300 million jobs could be at risk

According to a report released by Goldman Sachs - an investment banking company, around 300 million jobs could be at risk of being replaced or reduced by AI systems due to the increasing use of generative AI. The report also estimates that approximately two-thirds of jobs in the US and Europe have some exposure to AI automation.

- OpenAI reveals 80% of US workers could be impacted by AI

OpenAI - the company behind the popular chatbot ChatGPT, shared some eye-opening figures in their research paper stating that almost 80% of the US workforce could have at least 10% of their work affected by Generative Pre-trained Transformers (GPTs).

- Chegg stock crashes by 48.5% after shocking AI revelation

Chegg, an online tutoring and homework assistance platform, has sent shockwaves through the education tech world in its latest quarterly results. Chegg's CEO, Dan Rosensweig, admitted that the rise of AI language models such as ChatGPT have hit the company hard, causing a significant spike in student interest and impacting its customer growth rate, causing Chegg's stock to plummet by a staggering 48.5%.

Looking Ahead: The Importance of Ethics in AI Development

As AI advances, we will likely face new and unforeseen risks. But by remaining vigilant and committed to responsible development, we can ensure that this powerful technology is used to benefit us all.

Hinton's resignation and the impact of AI indicate that as we develop increasingly powerful technologies, we must also take responsibility for their impact on society. We cannot simply create new technology and assume it will automatically lead to positive outcomes.

It’s time we approach technology development with a sense of responsibility and a commitment to ethical and responsible use. We must be vigilant about the potential risks of AI, and we must take steps to ensure that AI systems are built by knowledgeable and responsible AI developers in a way that ensures they align with ethical principles, are unbiased, free from discrimination and designed to promote the greater good.

Fortunately, many organizations and initiatives are already working to promote ethical AI development. The Partnership on AI, for example, is a consortium of tech companies, academics and NGOs working to ensure that AI is developed in a way that benefits society as a whole. The IEEE Global Initiative on Ethics of Autonomous and Intelligent Systems is another initiative focused on developing ethical standards for AI.

Our Take

While the rise of AI has brought about concerns about job displacement and the possibility of a dystopian future, it is essential to remember that technology and humans can work together to create a better tomorrow. AI systems can assist humans in performing repetitive and mundane tasks, allowing them to focus on more creative and higher-level thinking and help solve some of the biggest challenges of the world.

There’s no doubt that AI has become extremely powerful but the human mind that created it is no less. Thus, by collaborating and leveraging the strengths of both humans and ethical AI, we can create a future that is more innovative, efficient and equitable for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did Geoffrey Hinton leave Google?

In May 2023, Geoffrey Hinton announced his resignation from Google so that he could freely speak out about the risks of AI. He expressed concerns about the potential negative impacts of AI on society and believed that AI should be developed in a way that benefits humanity.

Which jobs will be most impacted by AI?

According to OpenAI, some of the jobs that will be impacted by ChatGPT and other AI transformations are:

  • Mathematicians
  • Tax Preparers
  • Financial Quantitative Analysts
  • Writers and Authors
  • Web and Digital Interface Designers
  • Accountants and Auditors
  • News Analysts, Reporters and Journalists
  • Administrative Assistants
  • Clinical Data Managers

What is meant by ethical AI?

Ethical AI means artificial intelligence that adheres to well-defined ethical guidelines related to fundamental values for individual rights, privacy, non-discrimination and non-manipulation.

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