Elon Musk is among over 1,000 technology leaders who are calling for a pause on AI development due to the “profound risks to society and humanity” it presents.
Per The New York Times, the open letter published through the non-profit Future of Life Institute expresses grave concern for “AI systems with human-competitive intelligence.” Development into advanced AI systems has accelerated at an exponential rate over the past few years, and the letter warns that developers on these projects are "locked in an out-of-control race to develop and deploy ever more powerful digital minds that no one—not even their creators—can understand, predict or reliably control."
Other notable signers of the open letter include former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists president Rachel Bronson. AI has already posed a serious threat to some job sectors in the United States, and there’s even concern about how it might impact art and music. Notably, OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman did not sign the letter.
"Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda and untruth?” reads the letter. “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? Should we risk loss of control of our civilization? Such decisions must not be delegated to unelected tech leaders. Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable."
The letter calls for a pause on all systems “more powerful than GPT-4,” the OpenAI-developed chatbot that was introduced earlier this month. "This pause should be public and verifiable, and include all key actors," reads the letter. "If such a pause cannot be enacted quickly, governments should step in and institute a moratorium. 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."
Companies like Google, Adobe, and Microsoft have steadily introduced new AI features to its products. Several engineers from Google and Microsoft, at least, have signed the letter. "Humanity can enjoy a flourishing future with AI,” concludes the letter. “Society has hit pause on other technologies with potentially catastrophic effects on society. We can do so here. Let's enjoy a long AI summer, not rush unprepared into a fall.”