Artificial intelligence: Geoffrey Hinton leaves Google to preserve his freedom of speech

Geoffrey Hinton in 2017. REUTERS - MARK BLINCH

Text by: RFI Follow

2 min

Geoffrey Hinton, a Canadian artificial intelligence researcher, is behind the technology for the ChatGPT AI software. In an interview with the New York Times, he said he was leaving Google to be able to warn about the dangers associated with the progress made in the field.


Read more

By leaving Google, Geoffrey Hinton will be able to talk about the dangers of artificial intelligence, a technology to which he has devoted many years of research: "Part of him now regrets the work of his life," says the New York Times article. " I console myself with the normal excuse: if I hadn't done it, someone else would have done it," he said.

In a tweet confirming his resignation, he refuted any attempt to criticize the tech giant, which he said "behaved very responsibly."

In the NYT today, Cade Metz implies that I left Google so that I could criticize Google. Actually, I left so that I could talk about the dangers of AI without considering how this impacts Google. Google has acted very responsibly.

— Geoffrey Hinton (@geoffreyhinton) May 1, 2023

Work on neural networks

In 2012, with two students from the University of Toronto, Ilya Sutskever and Alex Krishevsky, this British man who emigrated to Canada developed a system capable of analyzing thousands of photos and learning to identify common objects such as flowers and cars. Google is investing in this discovery ($44 million).

According to Geoffrey Hinton, as companies improve their AI systems, they are becoming more and more dangerous. And the competition between Microsoft and Google accentuates the phenomenon. Last February, Google launched its conversational robot, called Bard, a few months after that of ChatGPT, the software of the American startup OpenAI.

The computer scientist has several fears. The first: that the Internet is flooded with false information with photos, videos and texts generated by AI, impossible to differentiate from reality. He also believes that AI can completely disrupt the job market by eliminating certain professions such as translators, for example.

Shared concerns

In March, billionaire Elon Musk - one of the founders of OpenAI - and several scientists called for a six-month pause in research on AI more powerful than GPT-4, citing "major risks to humanity". Geoffrey Hinton was not one of the signatories at the time. But in the New York Times, he believes that scientists should not further ramp up these AIs "before they know if they are able to control them" and points to the need for global regulation.

In 2018, Dr. Hinton along with Yoshua Bengio and Yann LeCun were awarded the Turing Prize, often called "the Nobel Prize in computer science," for their work.

>> Read also: Should we be afraid of artificial intelligence?

Newsletter Receive all the international news directly in your mailbox

I subscribe

Follow all the international news by downloading the RFI application

Read on on the same topics:

  • Google
  • Technologies
  • Internet
  • Artificial intelligence