The news site Telegraph started a three-part series about the growing sector of Artificial Intelligence in Toronto recently. The report was about Professor Geoffrey Hinton, who is popularly called the “Godfather of Artificial Intelligence (AI).”
Hinton – the man behind Artificial Intelligence
Professor Hinton admits in his first British newspaper interview that he was bemused by the name that has accompanied his late career growth. In his clean English accent, he told The Telegraph, “I feel slightly embarrassed by being called the godfather.”
The former students of Hinton have been hired by the Silicon Valley-based tech companies to lead AI research at the likes of Google, Apple and Facebook. The search giant did something big though by appointing him as a vice president engineering fellow. Hinton will take the leading position at the new $180m Vector Institute of Toronto in the coming months. He says, “I have a Reagan-like ability to believe in my own data” adding that he has an unshakeable faith in his own work.
Instead of fearing the growing intelligence of machines, a way more important and pressing threat to humanity is the development of killer robots, according to Hinton. He has signed a petition and written about his concerns to Britain’s Ministry of Defence. He told Telegraph that, “The reply said there is no need to do anything about this now because the technology is a long way away, and anyway, it might be quite useful.” He adds, “But they certainly have the capacity to do this.”
Medicines will become far more efficient through AI
Hinton, who lost his first wife ‘Ross’ to ovarian cancer in 1994, re-married to his current wife, Jackie, who is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He believes that medicines will become way more efficient as a result of artificial intelligence. Hinton believes that X-ray detection could soon be robot work in the future and people who can pay $100 will be able to have their genome mapped. If you do not know, the current cost of genome mapping is $1,000.
As for loss of jobs, he believes that jobs will be lost but it is the job of the business and the government to make sure that the next automation of the economy does not leave people behind. He says, “In a sensibly organised society, if you improve productivity there is room for everybody to benefit. The problem is not the technology, but the way the benefits are shared out. It is very hard to predict beyond five years in this area and things always turn out differently to what you expect.”