scorecardAI 'godfather' Geoffrey Hinton says he's 'very worried' about AI taking jobs and has advised the British government to adopt a universal basic income
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AI 'godfather' Geoffrey Hinton says he's 'very worried' about AI taking jobs and has advised the British government to adopt a universal basic income

Lakshmi Varanasi   

AI 'godfather' Geoffrey Hinton says he's 'very worried' about AI taking jobs and has advised the British government to adopt a universal basic income
Tech2 min read
Geoffrey Hinton believes the government needs to establish a universal basic income.     YouTube Screenshot
  • Geoffrey Hinton is worried that AI will take "lots of mundane jobs," the BBC reported.
  • Hinton advised the British government to establish universal basic income to mitigate AI's impact.

Some say AI will be a great equalizer. Others say it's bound to widen the wealth gap.

Geoffrey Hinton, known as the AI godfather for his work pioneering neural networks, is a vocal member of the latter group. He told the BBC that he's "very worried about AI taking lots of mundane jobs." And he believes a universal basic income might be the solution.

"I was consulted by people in Downing Street," he said. "I advised them that universal basic income was a good idea."

Universal basic income is a recurring cash payment made to all adults in a certain population regardless of their wealth and employment status — with no restrictions on how they spend the money. It's become a hot topic among AI researchers, futurists, and industry leaders as a way to mitigate AI's economic impact.

The idea is also gaining attention in countries like South Africa, Kenya, and India as a way to tackle poverty. And in the United States, numerous cities and some states have experimented with guaranteed basic incomes, which also give no-strings-attached monthly payments but to a targeted group of people.

In Hinton's view, AI will boost productivity and generate more wealth. But unless the government intervenes, it will only make the rich richer and hurt the people who might lose their jobs. "That's going to be very bad for society," he said.

Hinton advocates for a more cautious approach to AI development and says that in just 5 to 20 years, AI could be an "extinction-level threat" for humans.

Even those advocating more aggressive development believe governments should consider some sort of recurring payment to redistribute wealth.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman — who's been racing to develop artificial general intelligence — is running his own experiment around a universal basic income, the results of which he expects to release soon. He also recently floated the idea of a "universal basic compute." Instead of receiving cash, everyone could receive a slice of a future large language model like GPT-7, he said.

"They can use it, they can resell it, they can donate it to somebody to use for cancer research," Altman said.




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