Geoffrey Hinton, dubbed the “Godfather of AI,” confirmed Monday that he resigned from Google last week in order to speak out about the “dangers” of the technology he helped develop. Hinton’s pioneering work on neural networks shaped the artificial intelligence systems that power many of today’s products. He worked part-time at Google for a decade on the tech giant’s AI development efforts, but he has since expressed concerns about the technology and his role in its advancement. “I console myself with the normal excuse: If I hadn’t done it, somebody else would have,” Hinton told the New York Times, which was the first to report his decision. In a tweet Monday, Hinton said he left Google so he could speak freely about the risks of AI, rather than because of a desire to criticize Google specifically. “I left so that I could talk about the dangers of AI without considering how this impacts Google,” Hinton said in a tweet. “Google has acted very responsibly.” Jeff Dean, chief scientist at Google, said Hinton “has made foundational breakthroughs in AI” and expressed appreciation for Hinton’s “decade of contributions at Google.” “We remain committed to a responsible approach to AI,” Dean said in a statement provided to CNN. “We’re continually learning to understand emerging risks while also innovating boldly.” Hinton’s decision to leave the company and speak out about the technology comes as a growing number of lawmakers, advocacy groups, and tech insiders have expressed concern about the potential for a new generation of AI-powered chatbots to spread misinformation and displace jobs. The surge of interest in ChatGPT late last year fueled a renewed arms race among tech companies to develop and deploy similar AI tools in their products. OpenAI, Microsoft, and Google are at the forefront of this trend, but IBM, Amazon, Baidu, and Tencent are developing similar technologies. In March, a group of prominent tech figures signed a letter urging artificial intelligence labs to halt training of the most powerful AI systems for at least six months, citing “profound risks to society and humanity.” The letter came just two weeks after OpenAI announced GPT-4, an even more powerful version of the technology that powers ChatGPT. GPT-4 was used in early tests and a company demo to draught lawsuits, pass standardized exams, and build a working website from a hand-drawn sketch. In the interview with the Times, Hinton echoed concerns about AI’s potential to eliminate jobs and create a world where many will “not be able to know what is true anymore.” He also pointed to the stunning pace of advancement, far beyond what he and others had anticipated. “The idea that this stuff could actually get smarter than people — a few people believed that,” Hinton said in the interview. “But most people thought it was way off. And I thought it was way off. I thought it was 30 to 50 years or even longer away. Obviously, I no longer think that.” Even before stepping aside from Google, Hinton had spoken publicly about AI’s potential to do harm as well as good. “I believe that the rapid progress of AI is going to transform society in ways we do not fully understand and not all of the effects are going to be good,” Hinton said in a 2021 commencement address at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay in Mumbai. He noted how AI will boost healthcare while also creating opportunities for lethal autonomous weapons. “I find this prospect much more immediate and much more terrifying than the prospect of robots taking over, which I think is a very long way off.” Hinton isn’t the first Google employee to raise a red flag on AI. In July, the company fired an engineer who claimed an unreleased AI system had become sentient, saying he violated employment and data security policies. Many in the AI community pushed back strongly on the engineer’s assertion.