Sweet Surrender

“When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success.” So said Robert Oppenheimer about the development of an atomic weapon. That was a quote often paraphrased by Geoffrey Hinton when discussing his role in another arms race. But the man known as “The Godfather of AI” has soured on the sweet tech he helped create. Hinton is worried about the risks his project now poses to humanity, in part because, as he explains, “It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things.” That concern wasn’t raised by insiders thirty years ago, when the world wide web launched into in the public domain, and we’re the worse for our over-exuberance at the expense of measured development. But the web’s development was a slow moving locomotive compared to AI’s self-acceleration that’s already faster than a speeding bullet. NYT (Gift Article): ‘The Godfather of A.I.’ Leaves Google and Warns of Danger Ahead. Hinton now looks back and says, “I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have.” AI made the godfather an offer he couldn’t refuse. For better or worse, I don’t see how we can refuse it either.

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