It’s like something straight out of a sci-fi plot: tech leaders and experts calling for a pause on developing advanced AI systems. But this isn’t fiction – it’s reality. And it’s time for us to take action.
Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, along with more than 2,200 other signatories as I wrote this article, last Wednesday published an open letter calling for a six-month pause in the development of cutting-edge AI. The letter warns of AI’s potential risks to society and humanity, including economic and political disruption.
"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."
I strongly recommend reading and understanding the historical context in which we are living. It might be a little apocalyptic, but the side effect could spark a new era.
The letter specifically calls for a pause on the training of any AI systems more powerful than GPT-4, OpenAI’s latest large language model (LLM), which underpins its wildly popular chatbot ChatGPT. The signatories argue that AI labs are “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”.
A separate report from Goldman Sachs estimates that 300 million full-time jobs could be exposed to generative AI globally. There are also concerns about the potential for AI to generate misinformation on a massive scale.
Can Tech Companies be trusted with AI Governance?
In addition to this topic, last quarter of 2022, a study by KPMG Australia and the University of Queensland found that the majority of people surveyed across 17 countries do not have confidence in government institutions to regulate and govern AI tools and systems.
Instead, research institutions, universities and defence forces were seen as more capable. Supranational bodies like the United Nations were viewed more positively than state governments. The European Commission has drafted a law to regulate AI, but it has yet to be adopted. In the USA, President Joe Biden introduced a non-binding blueprint for AI development and implementation, but there are currently no federal laws or binding policies on AI regulation. The pace of evolution has been faster than the regulations initiatives.
Why was this letter released just now?
I think that standpoint is a little late but necessary. Now the race is not controlled, mainly due to geopolitical issues, because this is just one country interrupting others that will be able to gain competitiveness and automatically generate a new category of power in the world.
Well, what do you think about this issue? Do you agree with Musk and Wozniak’s call for a pause on AI development? Is ‘Skynet’ coming?