Close to 3,000 individuals, including tech leaders Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, have signed an open letter penned by the Future Of Life Institute asking all AI labs to immediately pause giant AI experiments for at least six months, fearing that the development of AI tools that are more powerful than GPT-4 might have a severe impact not only to the tech industry but to the world.
“AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity,” an excerpt of the open letter reads. “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,” it continued.
With no fundamental regulations for AI technology in place, the letter comes amid concerns over the impact of artificial intelligence on society and its potential to cause harm. The signatories are calling for a moratorium on creating powerful AI until its impact on society can be thoroughly examined.
AI: A Threat to Humanity?
The open letter raised concerns about insufficient planning and management regulating AI tools. It argued that not even its creator could understand their creation’s complexity, nor can they control it.
While AI has the potential to bring about many benefits, such as improving healthcare, there are also concerns that it could have unintended consequences. One of the biggest concerns is that AI could be used to create autonomous weapons, which could threaten humanity.
“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 stressed. To date, there are already 2,962 individuals who have already affixed their signatures to the said letter.
Another concern raised in the letter is that AI could aggravate existing social inequalities. As AI is developed and deployed, there is a risk that it could perpetuate biases and discrimination. For example, if AI is used in hiring decisions, it could end up discriminating against certain groups of people.
Tech bigwigs suggested an examination and audit of the present AI models after seeing the need for an “independent review” of future AI systems to promote more security and safety protocols.
The tech leaders suggested that “AI research and development should be refocused on making today’s powerful, state-of-the-art systems more accurate, safe, interpretable, transparent, robust, aligned, trustworthy, and loyal.”
To this end, they urged governments worldwide to craft AI governance systems that will create regulatory authorities dedicated to overseeing the rollout and regulation of AI technology in the future.
Mixed Reactions to the Open Letter
The open letter has received mixed reactions, where some AI researchers dismissing it as just a remnant of the so-called “AI hype.” The letter has been a subject of scrutiny among AI developers and researchers alike since it was published Tuesday.
“The letter isn’t perfect, but the spirit is right,” said Gary Marcus, a professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University.
So far, only the CEO of Stability AI has agreed to the letter, tweeting “I don’t think a six-month pause is the best idea, but there are some interesting things in that letter.”
Towards a Better Future for All
The call for a six-month pause in AI development has sparked an important conversation about the impact of AI on society as a whole.
While the limits and capabilities of this emerging AI technology remain to be seen, it is clear that there is a need for AI development to be guided by ethical principles and robust governmental regulations.