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‘Godfather of AI’ calls for universal basic income to fight job losses to bots

‘Godfather of AI’ calls for universal basic income to fight job losses to bots

The computer scientist dubbed the “godfather of artificial intelligence” says the government must set up a universal basic income to deal with the impact of AI on jobs.

Professor Geoffrey Hinton, 76, said the wage move was needed as artificial intelligence is set to take millions of roles from humanity.

He added to BBC Newsnight he was “very worried about AI taking lots of mundane jobs”.

The professor said: “I was consulted by people in Downing Street and I advised them that universal basic income was a good idea.”

He warned even though he felt AI would increase productivity and wealth, the money would go to the rich and “not the people whose jobs get lost” – which he said would be “very bad for society”.

Professor Hinton is the pioneer of neural networks, which form the theoretical basis of the current explosion in artificial intelligence.

He worked at Google, but left the tech giant in 2023 so he could talk more freely about the dangers from unregulated AI.

A government spokesman said there were “no plans to introduce a universal basic income”.

Professor Hinton added about the dangers of AI: “My guess is in between five and 20 years from now there’s a probability of half that we’ll have to confront the problem of AI trying to take over.”

He said this would lead to an “extinction-level threat” for humans because we could have “created a form of intelligence that is just better than biological intelligence.”

Prof Hinton also stated AI could “evolve” and “get the motivation to make more of itself” – which could lead to it wanting to gain “control”.

He said there was already evidence of large language models - a type of AI algorithm used to generate text choosing to be deceptive.

Prof Hinton added: “What I’m most concerned about is when these can autonomously make the decision to kill people.”

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