The godfathers of AI debate

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The "godfathers of AI" - Geoffrey Hinton, Andrew Ng, Yann LeCun, and Yoshua Bengio - have recently been engaged in a public debate over the existential risks of AI, also known as x-risks. This debate has been conducted through a series of online articles, blog posts, and social media posts1. Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio are on the side that is highly concerned about AI’s existential risks. Hinton, who quit his role at Google to speak more freely about the risks of AI, has become an outspoken advocate for AI safety and has called it a more urgent risk than climate change2. Bengio, who is a professor of computer science at the University of Montreal, has also expressed concern about the rapid development of AI and has signed an open letter calling for a six-month pause on AI development2. He has also proposed a framework for policy and governance that aims to address the growing risks associated with artificial intelligence1. On the other hand, Andrew Ng and Yann LeCun believe the concerns are overblown. Ng, who did pioneering work in image recognition after co-founding Google Brain, has expressed that his greatest fear for the future of AI is if overhyped risks (such as human extinction) let tech lobbyists get enacted stifling regulations that suppress open-source and crush innovation1. LeCun, who is chief AI scientist at Meta, responded to Ng’s comments with a recent post saying that he thinks some tech leaders are genuinely worried about existential risk, but he believes they are wrong and exaggerate it1. Despite their differing views on the existential risks of AI, the debate does not diminish the long friendship between the quartet. They have shown that people can disagree about important things but still be good friends1.
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