Google’s AI Godfather Geoffrey Hinton Resigns

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© Mark Blinch/Reuters

Geoffrey Hinton, a prominent figure in the field of artificial intelligence, stepped down from his position as Google’s VP and engineering fellow. He expressed concerns about the potential risks of the technology and believes that Google is becoming less cautious about releasing AI models publicly in order to stay competitive with rivals like ChatGPT and Bing Chat. As the “godfather of AI,” Hinton worries that this shift in approach could lead to various ethical challenges.

Hinton, a prominent figure in the field of artificial intelligence, has expressed concerns about the potential risks associated with the technology. He believes that in the short term, generative AI could result in an inundation of misinformation, making it challenging to differentiate between facts and falsehoods. Additionally, he is apprehensive that AI could not only automate repetitive tasks but potentially displace certain job positions altogether.

Looking ahead, Hinton is particularly alarmed by the prospect of fully autonomous weaponry and the tendency of AI models to learn unusual behavior from training data. He fears that in the absence of regulations or effective oversight, these issues could spiral out of control.


The reason for Hinton’s shift in position started last year when he observed that AI systems being created by companies like Google and OpenAI were sometimes more superior to human intelligence. In just the past five years, the pace of AI development has been rapid, and Hinton believes that it is “frightening” to think about what could happen in the next five.

Jeff Dean, Google’s Chief Scientist, has responded to Hinton’s concerns by stating that the company still maintains a “responsible approach” and is watchful for “emerging risks.” In March, Google released a rough version of its Bard chatbot after months of speculation that the company was concerned about the competitive threat posed by generative AI. Prior to this, it declined to release its art-focused Imagen AI models publicly, citing potential copyright violations and the possibility of toxic content.

The renowned AI researcher, Geoffrey Hinton, has spent his career studying neural networks and is best known for creating an object recognition system in 2012. His neural net was capable of recognizing common objects by using training images, and this innovation led to a surge of development that eventually resulted in today’s generative technology. In 2013, Google acquired Hinton’s DNN research startup, and since then, his concerns about the ethical and safety implications of AI have grown. Hinton’s resignation from his position as Google VP and engineering fellow in April has drawn attention from influential tech figures like Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, who have signed an open letter calling for a six-month pause on AI development to address ethical concerns.


The departure of Geoffrey Hinton from Google highlights concerns about unregulated growth in artificial intelligence and the potential for ethical issues. Hinton’s departure coincides with the push by tech companies, including Google, to develop generative AI systems capable of producing human-like text, images, and videos. While impressive, these systems also raise concerns about the use of AI-generated propaganda, deepfakes, and other malicious content. Hinton is worried that this could lead to the spread of false information that is indistinguishable from real news, posing a threat to public trust and democratic institutions.

Hinton is also concerned about the impact of AI on employment, with the potential to replace jobs that involve repetitive or routine tasks. He believes that AI should instead be used to eliminate “drudge work” and promote human creativity and innovation. Additionally, Hinton warns that AI can learn and perpetuate biases and discriminatory behavior from training data, resulting in unintended consequences.

Hinton’s concerns regarding AI are based on the rapid advancements in technology in recent years, and the possibility that AI could surpass human intelligence in the near future. He is also worried about the development of fully autonomous weapons, which could have catastrophic consequences if not regulated properly.

While Google’s Chief Scientist Jeff Dean has reassured the public that the company is dedicated to responsible AI development, Hinton’s resignation has raised concerns about the ethical considerations of AI development in the industry. As more influential voices join the conversation about the potential dangers of AI, it has become clear that a more comprehensive and coordinated approach to AI development and regulation is necessary.


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