Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, Apple co-founder, and hundreds of leaders in the world of technology have called for a temporary pause on the development of artificial intelligence. The leaders cited “profound risks” that the technology poses to humanity.
Since the start of the year, AI language processing tools, such as ChatGPT, have become household names receiving widespread recognition for their capabilities. Users can utilize the technology to write lines of code, generate emails, and some AI platforms can create beautiful custom artwork.
However, artificial intelligence can be used in more heinous ways. For example, it has become an issue in academic settings where students write entire essays at the click of a button. “Deep fake” videos and voice generations of celebrities and politicians are becoming almost indistinguishable from reality. Ultimately, artificial intelligence also has the potential to render a massive portion of the population obsolete in their jobs as they cannot compete with technology.
An open letter from the Future of Life Institute discussed AI’s implication on human interaction, employment prospects, and the timeline in which the technology could outsmart humans. The letter opens, “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. As stated in the widely-endorsed Asilomar AI Principles, Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned for and managed with commensurate care and resources. Unfortunately, this level of planning and management is not happening, even though recent months have seen AI labs 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.”
It continues, “Contemporary AI systems are now becoming human-competitive at general tasks, and we must ask ourselves: 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? 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. This confidence must be well justified and increase with the magnitude of a system’s potential effects. OpenAI’s recent statement regarding artificial general intelligence, 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.” We agree. That point is now.”
The document signed by numerous tech leaders and intellectuals states, “Therefore, we call on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4. 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.”
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