IT Industry Leaders Call for Temporary Pause on Advanced AI Development Amid Risks to Society and Humanity

Over 2,600 IT industry leaders and researchers have signed an open letter urging a temporary “pause” on the development of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) systems that pose “profound risks to society and humanity.” The letter, written by the US think tank Future of Life Institute, includes signatures from high-profile individuals such as Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, and Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple.

The letter highlights concerns that “human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity,” and calls on AI businesses to “immediately pause” the development of AI systems more potent than GPT-4 for at least six months. The most recent version of OpenAI’s chatbot driven by AI, known as GPT-4, was made available on March 14 and is said to be ten times more sophisticated than its initial release.

The letter also raises concerns about the possibility of automation “automating away” work prospects and inundating media conduits with “propaganda and untruths.” The Future of Life Institute takes these worries a step further, speculating that the entrepreneurship of AI businesses could create an existential threat by developing nonhuman minds that could eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete, and replace humans.

While not all AI experts have signed the petition, the Future of Life Institute suggests that if an immediate ban on AI development is not implemented, governments should step in and institute a moratorium. AI-powered deep fake technology has been used to produce convincing photos, audio, and video hoaxes, and questions have been raised about whether the technology may occasionally break copyright rules when it is used to produce AI-generated art.

Mike Novogratz, CEO of Galaxy Digital, has also expressed surprise at the lack of regulatory attention given to AI compared to cryptocurrencies, suggesting that the government has it “completely upside-down.” Ultimately, the call for a pause on advanced AI development highlights the need to plan for and manage AI systems with commensurate care and resources, recognizing the potential for AI to represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth.

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