Dr Geoffrey Hinton is leaving Google. The neural networks pioneer is stepping down partly because he wants to freely express his views on the dangers of AI without limit. Hinton considers the emanation of true digital intelligence an “existential risk” to society.

Hinton says he partially regrets his contribution to the development of artificial intelligence. “I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have,” Hinton told The New York Times.

The academic (75) has been involved in the development of artificial intelligence since 1972, when he found that AI tech could benefit from neural networks. These networks mimic the function of the human brain in the sense that they consist of interconnected processors, making the entire network “trainable” based on input. Chatbots like ChatGPT have used this method to develop the ability to communicate in a ‘humanlike’ way, even though the technology is still evolving.


He sees the democratization of AI deployment as a worrisome development. “It’s hard to imagine how to prevent malicious actors from doing bad things with it,” he said. Hinton expressed his concerns about AI in a phone conversation with Google CEO Sundar Pichai, but did not expand on what exactly was said.

Hinton already spoke about the influence of AI in conversation with CBS in late March. At the time, he already had several warnings about using artificial intelligence, but stopped short of a definitive rebuke of the technology. Not too surprising, given his employment at Google at the time. The company has launched all sorts of AI initiatives, mainly in competition with OpenAI and thus its investor Microsoft.

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