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The ‘Godfather of AI’ emerges out of stealth to back carbon capture startup

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the shift in perspective of Geoffrey Hinton, known as the "Godfather of AI," regarding the potential of AI technology. After dramatically quitting Google last year and warning about the dangers of AI, Hinton is now back to betting on the technology's ability to transform the world for the better, particularly in addressing climate change.

🙋 Q&A

[01] Hinton's Changing Stance on AI

1. What was Hinton's initial stance on AI, and how has it changed?

  • Initially, Hinton was a prominent AI skeptic, warning about the dangers of AI and its potential negative impact on humanity.
  • However, more than a year later, Hinton has now agreed to serve as an advisor on the board of CuspAI, a company that aims to use AI to accelerate the design of new building materials to help combat climate change.
  • Hinton's statement accompanying the announcement of his involvement with CuspAI was "appropriately conflicted," acknowledging that while AI can cause challenges, it can also be used to solve problems.

2. What are Hinton's concerns about the impact of AI?

  • Hinton has expressed concerns about AI's impact on the labor market, suggesting that a universal basic income may be required to address the replacement of many "mundane jobs."
  • He has also worried about the potential for rogue AI to learn to manipulate its users by learning the works of Machiavelli and other "political connivances."

[02] CuspAI and its Mission

1. What is CuspAI's mission and approach?

  • CuspAI is a company that emerged from stealth with a $30 million seed funding round, with the goal of helping users design next-generation building materials through deep learning and molecular simulation.
  • The company plans to use search-engine-style functionalities to identify the properties needed for new building materials on demand, aiding in their discovery.
  • CuspAI's cofounders hope that their technology can help offset the emerging challenge of the rapid uptake of AI, which is contributing to increasing energy consumption and carbon emissions from data centers.

2. How does CuspAI aim to address the environmental impact of AI?

  • CuspAI wants its technology to contribute to the world's growing carbon capture and storage capabilities, by designing materials that efficiently capture carbon dioxide.
  • Meta's chief AI scientist, Yann LeCun, has said that the tech giant plans to partner with CuspAI to accelerate its discovery of new materials for carbon capture.
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