Musk and other AI experts call for pause in the technology in view of SERIOUS risks to society

AI is rapidly developing, time to pause?/Shutterstock Images

Elon Musk and a group of artificial intelligence experts as well as industry executives called for a six-month pause in developing systems more powerful than OpenAI’s newly launched GPT-4, in an open letter published online yesterday citing potential risks to society and humanity.

1,123 people so far, including Musk, called for a temporary cease in advanced AI development until shared safety protocols for such designs were developed, implemented and audited by independent experts.

“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 said.

The letter states there are potential risks to society—and our civilization—by human-competitive AI systems in the form of economic and political disruptions, and called on developers to work closely with policymakers on governance and regulatory authorities.

The warning comes as EU police force Europol on Monday this week joined a chorus of people with ethical and legal concerns over advanced AI like ChatGPT, warning about the potential misuse of the system in phishing attempts, disinformation and cybercrime.

Co-signatories included Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque, researchers at Alphabet-owned (GOOGL.O) DeepMind, as well as AI heavyweights Yoshua Bengio and Stuart Russell.

According to the European Union’s transparency register, the Future of Life Institute is funded primarily by the Musk Foundation, as well as London-based effective altruism group Founders Pledge, and Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

“The letter isn’t perfect, but the spirit is right: we need to slow down until we better understand the ramifications,” said Gary Marcus, a professor at New York University who signed the letter. “They can cause serious harm… the big players are becoming increasingly secretive about what they are doing, which makes it hard for society to defend against whatever harms may materialize.”

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