By Joseph Raczynski
At MIT EmTech Conference – Cambridge, MA
This is not a joke. Our time is short here on Earth, according to Geoffrey Hinton Emeritus Professor, University of Toronto; Engineering Fellow, Google, “All of humanity is just a passing phase, for intelligence.” In other words, we don’t have much more time. This is a stunning statement, and what I just witnessed was one of the most impactful sessions I have ever seen in the many hundreds of conferences I have participated or spoken at over the last ten years. The MIT Lab was speechless and bewildered.
Geoffrey Hinton, just resigned from Google as the Head of AI. He made his first comments today after leaving Google during the MIT EmTech Digital Conference to a room full of executives, scientists, technologists, and educators from around the world. Some consider him to be the godfather of AI. He has been in the space his entire career as he retires at 75. He is also the winner of the Turing Award, referred to as the “Nobel Prize in Computing,” the most highly prized award in computing.
In what he outlined to the standing room only crowd of attendees; this is a new concern for him, which came about over the last few months. While Google has had this technology since 2018, OpenAI’s release of GPT4 has completely changed his mind on what is next, which is honestly, frightening. He has seen evidence that ChatGPT can reason at a lower rate. That is the beginning, but something he did not expect to see in the wild. In the not-too-distant future, he expects this to only become a better reasoning machine. He used the example of humans being a two-year-old and asked by its parent if it would like peas or apple sauce. In other words, we will not know when it will become more powerful than us. Hint, it is soon. He went on to describe what OpenAI has done with 1 trillion connections whereas a human brain has 100 trillion connections – yet the 1 trillion from OpenAI are likely more intelligent, at this very moment. When the 1 trillion grow, which they are now, it will certainly surpass human knowledge soon.
Questions were posed about how we might be able to stop this, and honestly, he did not have any positive answers. The genie is out of the bottle, and it would take a worldwide effort of every country to stop this progression. While I have been talking and writing about this moment for many years, I thought we were still decades away from artificial superintelligence or the singularity, but in fact, according to one of the best minds in the world on this, it is much closer than any of us know.