Over 2,600 tech industry leaders and researchers, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, have signed an open letter calling for a temporary halt on any further artificial intelligence (AI) development. The letter expresses concerns about the potential hazards to society and mankind posed by AI with human-competitive intelligence, citing the risks of AI systems that may be able to learn and evolve beyond human control.
The signatories of the letter urge all AI firms to immediately cease developing AI systems that are more potent than Generative Pre-trained Transformer 4 (GPT-4) for at least six months. GPT-4 is a multimodal large language model created by OpenAI and the fourth in its GPT series. The aim of the proposed moratorium is to allow time for comprehensive risk assessments to be carried out and for the development of new safety protocols.
However, the petition has divided the tech community, with some opposing the call to halt AI development. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, among other notable names, voiced his opposition to the petition, stating that “committees and bureaucracy won’t solve anything.” Armstrong added that there are no designated “experts” to decide on this issue and that not everyone in the tech industry agrees with the petition.
Armstrong argued that the risks of new technologies, including AI, are an inherent part of progress, and that centralization in decision-making will bring no good. He reminded that any new technology poses a certain amount of danger, but the goal should be to keep moving forward.
A columnist at LA Times, Brian Merchant, called the petition an “apocalyptic AI hype carnival” and stated that many of the stated concerns are “robot jobs apocalypse” stuff. Meanwhile, Satvik Sethi, a former Web3 executive at Mastercard, described the petition as a “non-proliferation treaty but for AI.” He added that many of the popular signers on the list have a deeply personal vested interest in the AI field and are likely just “trying to slow down their counterparts so they can get ahead.”
The debate around the open letter highlights the complex and multifaceted challenges of AI development. While some experts view the potential benefits of AI as significant, there are also concerns about the potential risks to society and mankind. The debate highlights the need for continued discussion and collaboration among all stakeholders to ensure that the development of AI is safe, ethical, and aligned with the long-term interests of humanity.