Internet Reacts To 100s Of Top Technologists Demanding The Halt Of Advanced AI Systems

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This morning we wrote about Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates penning a lengthy blog post discussing the many pros and cons about the advancement of artificial intelligence.

While Gates believes artificial intelligence (AI) can provide assistance with things like global health and education and climate change, he also warned “there’s the possibility that AIs will run out of control” and “decide that humans are a threat.”

That warning echoed others previously issued by people like former Chief Business Officer with Google’s Research and Development division Mo Gawdat, researchers at Google Deepmind and the University of Oxford, the Chief Operating Officer at SingularityNET, and numerous other artificial intelligence scientists.

Following the Bill Gates report, more than 1,100 technologists, engineers, and artificial intelligence ethicists signed an open letter published by the Future of Life Institute asking artificial intelligence labs to halt their development of advanced AI systems.

“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,” a portion of the letter reads. “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.”

“Contemporary AI systems are now becoming human-competitive at general tasks, and we must ask ourselves: Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda and untruth?” the letter continues. “Should we automate away all the jobs, including the fulfilling ones? Should we develop nonhuman minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us? Should we risk loss of control of our civilization? Such decisions must not be delegated to unelected tech leaders. Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable.”

They are asking AI labs to “immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4” and “the pause should be public and verifiable.”

As Bill Gates stated in his blog post, AI isn’t “necessarily good at understanding the context for a human’s request” and it can give wrong answers because it can “struggle with abstract reasoning.”

“Could a machine decide that humans are a threat, conclude that its interests are different from ours, or simply stop caring about us?” Gates asked, the replied, “Possibly.”

Reactions to the open letter regarding the call for development of advanced AI systems to temporarily cease were a mixed bag.

“It is never going to happen. Too much money to be made and we’re in a AI arms race at the moment,” someone else tweeted.

“If they pause it China will finish it,” another person observed, probably correctly.

“This is an extremely bad idea; not everyone will be on board and develop anyway, putting those with ethical concerns at a competitive disadvantage,” another Twitter user pointed out. “The only way forward is to lean into development, as much as possible.”