Elon Musk and other tech leaders are calling for a pause in the “out of control” AI race

(CNN) Some of the biggest names in technology are calling for artificial intelligence labs to halt training of the most powerful AI systems for at least six months, citing “serious risks to society and humanity”.

Elon Musk was one of dozens tech leaders, professors and researchers who signed the letter, which was published by the Future of Life Institute, a nonprofit organization backed by Musk.

The letter comes just two weeks after OpenAI announced GPT-4, an even more powerful version of the technology that underpins the viral AI chatbot tool, ChatGPT. Early testing and a business demo showed the technology drafting lawsuits, passing standardized exams, and building a working website from a hand-drawn sketch.

The letter stated that the break should apply to AI systems “more powerful than GPT-4”. It also said independent experts should use the proposed pause to jointly develop and deploy a set of shared protocols for AI tools that are secure “beyond reasonable doubt”.

“Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned and managed with appropriate care and resources,” the letter said. “Unfortunately, this level of planning and control is not happening, even though AI labs have seen an out-of-control race in recent months to develop and deploy increasingly powerful digital minds that no one — not even their creators — can understand, predict. or reliably verify.”

If there is no pause soon, the letter says governments must step in and institute a moratorium.

The wave of attention surrounding ChatGPT late last year helped renew an arms race between tech companies to develop and deploy similar AI tools in their products. OpenAI, Microsoft and Google are at the forefront of this trend, but IBM, Amazon, Baidu and Tencent are working on similar technologies. A long list of startups are also developing AI writing assistants and image generators.

Artificial intelligence experts are increasingly concerned about the potential of AI tools for biased responses, the ability to spread misinformation, and the impact on consumer privacy. These tools have also sparked questions about how AI could revolutionize professions, enable students to cheat, and change our relationship with technology.

The letter references the wider discomfort inside and outside the industry with the rapid pace of progress in AI. Some government agencies in China, the EU and Singapore have previously introduced early versions of AI governance frameworks.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Microsoft founder Bill Gates and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman signed the letter. While the executives were initially listed as signatories, the nonprofit organization behind the letter later removed their names.






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