(WatchDogReport.org) – Concerns over the potentially catastrophic application of artificial intelligence technology have led to the resignation of Google computer scientist Geoffrey Hinton. Hinton has been called the “Godfather of AI” due to his many years of dedicated study and work on neural networks and deep learning algorithms.
Over a thousand scientists and technologists are pushing for a six-month pause in AI research and development, so Hinton’s concerns are not the ravings of a lone paranoid. This comes as AI is exploding at breakneck speed around the world. For example, ChatGPT, an AI-powered chatbot developed by OpenAI with support from Microsoft, gained 100 million monthly users in just two months after its April launch.
One of Hinton’s worries is that AI will replace people in the workforce, surpass human intelligence, and perhaps be used for evil. Hinton is uneasy about the possibility of bad actors appropriating AI technology for their ends, whether as individuals, organizations, or states.
Hinton is especially worried about the possibility of these tools being used to influence elections and possibly start conflicts. In the future, social media sites like Facebook may be replaced by AI chatbots that distribute election-related disinformation. It’s also unclear how a superpower like Russia could be prevented from utilizing AI to subjugate its neighbors or its own people.
Hinton also said he didn’t want to minimize the significance of climate change, but this crisis could become much more urgent. Although Hinton claims climate change is a serious threat, he also noted that solutions are straightforward: reduce carbon emissions. However, how to proceed when dealing with AI is not so obvious.
Hinton argues that the first step toward establishing international norms against armed AI may be a global accord like the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1997. However, it must be noted that the Chemical Weapons Convention did not prevent what investigators believe to have been chlorine gas and the nerve agent sarin assaults by the Syrian government on people in 2017 and 2018.
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