An open letter backed by tech giants Elon Musk, Jaan Tallinn (co-founder of Skype), Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple) and more than 1,000 others was released by the Future of Life Institute. The letter calls for a halt to the development of AI, which they say poses a serious threat to humanity and could have catastrophic consequences.
The letter was published shortly after OpenAI unveiled GPT-4, an enhanced version of the technology that powers ChatGPT, a popular AI chatbot tool. The letter’s authors suggest that the pause should also apply to AI systems that are more powerful than GPT-4. They also urge independent experts to use the proposed pause to work together to develop and implement a common set of protocols for AI tools that are completely secure.
“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,” the letter states. “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.”
The open letter suggests that governments should intervene and impose a moratorium if a pause is not taken soon. The popularity of ChatGPT over the past year has sparked new competition among tech companies to develop similar AI tools and integrate them into their products. While OpenAI, Microsoft and Google are leading this trend, IBM, Amazon, Baidu, Tencent and many startups are also developing AI writing assistants and image generators. Artificial intelligence experts are increasingly concerned about the potential bias, the spread of misinformation, and privacy implications of AI tools. In addition, these tools have raised questions about the impact of AI on professions, fraud in education, and workforce transformation.