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Big Names Sign Petition To Pause Giant AI Experiments: Musk, Wozniak, Mostaque

Open letter says, ‘Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable’

Image source: Future of Life Institute

Amongst nearly 2,000 signatures on a petition to halt labs from launching an AI system more advanced than GPT-4, citing “profound risks” to human society, are Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque and Sapiens author Yuval Noah Harari.

In an open letter issued by Future of Life (FoL), the non-profit institute is currently pushing for a six-month pause in the development and release of more AI systems. The petition calls for an immediate pause in the training of systems for half a year.

“AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity as shown by extensive research and acknowledged by top AI labs,” the letter says.

“Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda and untruth? Should we automate away all the jobs, including the fulfilling ones? Should we develop nonhuman minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us?”

The open letter is issued weeks after OpenAI launched its flagship GPT-4 model which comes with many premium features that surpass ChatGPT in every way. Currently, GPT-4 can write work emails, plan events, produce computer code, create games, write essays and perform well on tests such as the bar exam amongst other features.

FoL’s Top Myths About Advanced AI

Source: Future Of Life Institute

The right time to take action

OpenAI acknowledges the need to ensure that technological systems that are ‘generally smarter than humans’ work toward the benefit of humanity. The company states that, “At some point, it may be important to get independent review before starting to train future systems, and for the most advanced efforts to agree to limit the rate of growth of compute used for creating new models.”

The letter agrees with OpenAI’s concerns and adds that the time to act is now. “This pause should be public and verifiable, and include all key actors. If such a pause cannot be enacted quickly, governments should step in and institute a moratorium,” reads the letter.

“AI labs and independent experts should use this pause to jointly develop and implement a set of shared safety protocols for advanced AI design and development that are rigorously audited and overseen by independent outside experts.” It goes on to say that, “These protocols should ensure that systems adhering to them are safe beyond a reasonable doubt.”

However, the letter also reads that the six-month pause is not a general pause on the development of AI but, “Merely a stepping back from the dangerous race to ever-larger unpredictable black-box models with emergent capabilities.”

The rise of AI has also led to a growing list of behemoth companies including Google, Microsoft, Adobe, Snapchat, DuckDuckGo and Grammarly, which have announced services that take advantage of generative AI skills.

Some AI experts believe that the present pace of advancement in artificial intelligence is too rapid and are concerned about where it’s heading, as many companies are rushing out with unsolicited AI products without adequate safeguards.

You can read more about the Future Of Life Institute’s stance on AI in their post, Benefits & Risks of Artificial Intelligence.

Written By

Isa Muhammad is a writer and video game journalist covering many aspects of entertainment media including the film industry. He's steadily writing his way to the sharp end of journalism and enjoys staying informed. If he's not reading, playing video games or catching up on his favourite TV series, then he's probably writing about them.

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