MONTREAL: A woman wearing a virtual reality headset takes part in an experiment in which she chats with an AI to better understand the way it works. The National Film Board of Canada is conducting the experimenting.—AFP
MONTREAL: A woman wearing a virtual reality headset takes part in an experiment in which she chats with an AI to better understand the way it works. The National Film Board of Canada is conducting the experimenting.—AFP
MONTREAL: Rapid developments in artificial intelligence — and recent turmoil at industry powerhouse OpenAI — have brought fresh attention to a key hub of ethics research related to the technology in Montreal, led by Canadian “godfather of AI” Yoshua Bengio.

Bengio — who in 2018 shared with Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun the Turing Award for their work on deep learning — says he is worried about the technology leapfrogging human intelligence and capabilities in the not-too-distant future.

Speaking at his home, the professor warned that AI developments are moving at breakneck speed and risked “creating a new species capable of making decisions that harm or even endanger humans.”

OpenAI’s recent dismissal and then rehiring a few days later of chief executive Sam Altman — who has been accused of downplaying risks in his push to advance its ChatGPT bot — illustrates some of the turmoil in the startup sector and fierce competition in the race to commercialise generative AI.

For some time, Bengio has been warning about companies moving too fast without guardrails, “potentially at the public’s expense.” It is essential, he said, to have “rules that’ll be followed by all companies.” At a world-first AI summit in Britain in early November, Bengio was tasked with leading a team producing an inaugural report on AI safety. The aim is to set priorities to inform future work on the security of the cutting-edge technology.

The renowned AI academic has brought together a “critical mass of AI researchers” (1,000+) thro­ugh his Mila research institute, located in a former working-class neighbourhood of Montreal. His neighbors include AI research facilities of American tech giants Micro­soft, Meta, IBM and Google.

“This concentration of experts in artificial intelligence, which is greater than anywhere else in the world,” is what attracted Google, says Hugo Larochelle, the hoodie-wearing scientific director of the Silicon Valley giant’s AI subsidiary Deepmind.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Reserved seats
Updated 05 Mar, 2024

Reserved seats

Like the party symbol issue, the legality of the latest ECP determination will also be decided by the superior judiciary.
Hate in Modi’s India
05 Mar, 2024

Hate in Modi’s India

Brick by brick, the Sangh is seeking to destroy the edifice of Muslim civilisation in India that goes back a millennium.
Climate realities
05 Mar, 2024

Climate realities

IN an uncharacteristic twist for March — which typically heralds the warmth of spring — several parts of ...
Prime minister’s challenge
Updated 04 Mar, 2024

Prime minister’s challenge

Shehbaz should remember that his govt will be walking a tightrope: policy confusion can quickly snowball into a national disaster.
Close to midnight
04 Mar, 2024

Close to midnight

THE Ukraine war has entered its third year, with no signs of a peaceful resolution. If anything, the principal...
Losing history
04 Mar, 2024

Losing history

WHILE we have history strewn all over, the debate around pro-preservation development is not loud enough. Last week,...