AI pioneer says threat may overshadow climate change

Geoffrey Hinton, a leading pioneer of artificial intelligence (AI), has warned that the new technology could pose a “more urgent” existential threat than climate change.

“I wouldn’t like to devalue climate change. I wouldn’t like to say, ‘You shouldn’t worry about climate change.’ That’s a huge risk too,” Hinton said in an interview with Reuters. “But I think this might end up being more urgent.”

“With climate change, it’s very easy to recommend what you should do: you just stop burning carbon. If you do that, eventually things will be okay. For this it’s not at all clear what you should do,” Hinton said.

The longtime Google executive left Alphabet earlier this month, sounding alarms about the dangers of the tech he helped create — and he has urged that “we should worry seriously about how we stop these things getting control over us.”

Hinton has stressed that AI could pose an existential threat to humanity when “smart things can outsmart us.”

A number of other computer scientists who have worked on the rapidly-advancing tech are now warning of AI’s dangers.

Microsoft chief economist Michael Schwarz cautioned that AI will likely “be used by bad actors” and could “cause real damage.”

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