AI Pioneer Geoffrey Hinton Warns: Artificial Intelligence Poses a Graver Threat than Climate Change. Renowned as one of the pioneers in the field of artificial intelligence, Geoffrey Hinton recently gave an eye-opening interview to Reuters, shedding light on the various dangers associated with the technology. In a thought-provoking statement, Hinton suggested that AI could potentially pose a greater threat than even climate change.
Having left Alphabet, Hinton expressed his desire to openly discuss the potential consequences of AI without reservation. While acknowledging the significance of climate change, he emphasized the more immediate perils posed by AI.
“I don’t intend to undermine the gravity of climate change. I don’t want to imply that we should ignore climate change. It is indeed a colossal risk,” Hinton stated. “However, I believe the urgency of AI may surpass that.”
Hinton elaborated on his viewpoint, highlighting the contrasting nature of addressing these two global challenges. “When it comes to climate change, the solution is relatively straightforward: we must halt carbon emissions. If we achieve that, the situation will eventually improve. In the case of AI, though, it is far from clear what steps should be taken,” he explained.
A powerful open letter
In April, a resounding call for action reverberated through the tech industry as thousands of influential figures and tech leaders signed an open letter. The letter urged for a six-month pause in the development of systems that surpass the capabilities of OpenAI’s recently unveiled GPT-4.
While Geoffrey Hinton, a pioneering figure in the field of artificial intelligence, acknowledged sharing the concerns expressed by the signatories, he disagreed with the idea of a research pause, considering it an unrealistic solution.
“I firmly believe this is an existential risk, and it is imminent. Hence, we should be working tirelessly at this moment, dedicating substantial resources to understand and address this issue,” Hinton explained.
Responding to the open letter, a committee of lawmakers from the European Union called on U.S. President Joe Biden to convene a global summit to chart the future direction of AI. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen joined the call for a collective discussion.
As a result of these developments, the committee recently proposed a groundbreaking set of regulations targeting generative AI. Among the proposals is the requirement for AI companies to disclose any copyrighted material used in training their models.
Hinton commended President Biden’s initiative to engage in talks with AI company leaders, emphasizing the importance of transparency in their systems. He stressed that both tech leaders and politicians should be actively involved in addressing this issue.
“The tech leaders possess the best understanding of the situation, and the politicians must be engaged,” Hinton conveyed to Reuters. “The impact of AI affects us all, thus necessitating collective thought and action.”