The” godfather of artificial intelligence” has a confession to make. And if you’re a big fan of humanity not being wiped out by AI someday, it’s not exactly what you want to hear. 

Geoffrey Hinton is his name, and he talked to CBS this week about where AI is headed. He’s proud of his contribution to the technology and compared the invention of AI to electricity or the wheel. So he’s not burdened with a lack of confidence. 

But let’s get back to this whole doomsday scenario. He said that what we’re witnessing now with AI is general-purpose AI which includes speech recognition, answering questions, and that kind of thing. This is advancing faster than expected, he said. 

“Until quite recently, I thought it was going to be like 20 to 50 years before we have general purpose AI. And now I think it may be 20 years or less.”

What about the whole thing about AI potentially wiping out humanity? “I think it’s not inconceivable. That’s all I’ll say.”

Hinton is a computer scientist who works at Google and a university in Canada. While he’s not downplaying the potentially catastrophic threat posed by computers that eventually gain the ability to create ideas to improve themselves, which is where AI could become a threat to human life, he said it’s far enough in the future that we shouldn’t worry about it too much yet. Here is more of what he told CBS. 

“I think it’s very reasonable for people to be worrying about these issues now, even though it’s not going to happen in the next year or two. ”People should be thinking about those issues.”

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