Yoshua Bengio, the artificial intelligence pioneer, says the centralization of wealth, power and capability in Big Tech is "dangerous for democracy" and that the companies should be broken up.
Bengio, a professor at the University of Montreal and a member of the three-man "Canadian Mafia" that pioneered machine learning, the leading method used in AI, tells Axios that Big Tech has amassed an intense concentration of resources in AI, and that a concentration of talent and knowledge leads to more concentration. "We need to create a more level playing field for people and companies," he said.
Why it matters: "Concentration of wealth leads to concentration of power," Benjio said. "That's one reason why monopoly is dangerous. It's dangerous for democracy."
The background: Bengio's remarks are notable because of his stature in the AI community, but moreso since he and his peers all either directly lead or consult for Big Tech's AI programs — Geoffrey Hinton consults for Google; Yann LeCun for Facebook; and he himself for IBM. Ruslan Salakhutdinov, a protege of Hinton's, runs Apple's AI research effort.
I asked Bengio if the companies should be broken up. He harrumphed and responded that anti-trust laws should be enforced. "Governments have become so meek in front of companies," he said.
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