Elon Musk and over 1,000 experts are calling for a pause in the development of powerful artificial intelligence (AI) systems. An open letter titled “Pause Giant AI Experiments” was prompted by the release of GPT-4 from Microsoft-backed firm OpenAI, which is much more powerful than its previous version.
The letter states that AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity. It calls for a delay in the development of powerful AI systems until it is certain that their effects will be positive and manageable.
Experts Call for Thorough International Discussion on AI
The letter was signed by prominent critics as well as competitors of OpenAI, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Stability AI chief Emad Mostaque. Canadian AI pioneer Yoshua Bengio, who also signed the letter, warned that society is not ready for this powerful tool and its possible misuses. He called for a thorough international discussion about AI and its implications, similar to what was done for nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
The letter also quoted OpenAI founder Sam Altman, who suggested that “at some point, it may be important to get independent review before starting to train future systems.” The authors of the open letter wrote, “We agree. That point is now.” They are calling on all AI labs to pause for at least six months to develop safety protocols, AI governance systems, and refocus research on ensuring AI systems are more accurate, safe, trustworthy, and loyal.
GPT-4 Noted to Be Potentially Dangerous
The open letter did not detail the dangers revealed by GPT-4, but researchers have long argued that chatbots are great liars and have the potential to be superspreaders of disinformation. Gary Marcus of New York University, who signed the letter, is among those who believe that chatbots can be dangerous.
The Need for Government Intervention
If companies fail to comply with the pause in AI development, the letter calls for governments to step in and impose a moratorium. The six-month pause should be used to develop safety protocols, AI governance systems, and ensure AI systems are more accurate, safe, trustworthy, and loyal.
Author Cory Doctorow has compared the AI industry to a “pump and dump” scheme, arguing that both the potential and the threat of AI systems have been massively overhyped. However, experts signing the open letter believe that there is a real and pressing need for action to be taken now to ensure that AI systems are developed safely and responsibly.
Leave a Reply