Meta's main AI scientist argues that AI isn't a threat to humanity

By: Dickson Arinze

Meta's main AI scientist argues that AI isn't a threat to humanity

October 20, 2023 6:23 AM

Chief AI scientist at Meta, Yann LeCun, called it "preposterous" that AI may wipe out mankind and called for a delay in naming the existential risk of AI.

According to an interview published by the Financial Times, Meta's chief AI scientist has commented on the ongoing debate over the potential existential concerns posed by AI. 

In an article published on October 19 by the Financial Times, Yann LeCun is quoted as arguing that unnecessary restrictions on AI technology will only serve to increase the monopoly of the Big Tech firms.

"Controlling AI research and development is unproductive," he argued. When it comes to AI, LeCun thinks regulators are exploiting the issue of safety as a smokescreen for what he calls "regulatory capture."

Since OpenAI's publication of the chatbot ChatGPT-4 in November 2022, the popularity of AI has skyrocketed, and several prominent figures in the field have spoken out against the dangers posed by AI to humankind.

The "godfather of AI," Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, quit his job as Google's head of machine learning so that he could "talk about the dangers of AI."

Back in May, Dan Hendrycks, director of the Center for AI Safety, stated that preventing the extinction risk from AI should be a worldwide priority on par with "other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war."

On the other hand, in his most recent interview, LeCun dismissed as "preposterous" the premise that artificial intelligence will wipe out humankind.

"Since we now lack a design for a system that can even compete with a cat in terms of learning skills, the discussion of existential risk is premature."

He also argued that present AI models are not as advanced as are sometimes made out to be, arguing that they cannot "plan" or "reason" because they lack a fundamental understanding of how the world functions.

LeCun asserts that he anticipates AI will someday assist in managing our daily activities, predicting that "AI systems will mediate everyone's interaction with the digital world."

However, many people are still worried about the technology's potential consequences. The advisor to the United Kingdom's AI task force has expressed concern that AI will pose a threat to mankind within the next two years.