Tesla founder and Twitter owner Elon Musk led the signing of an open letter by tech leaders calling for an immediate pause in the further development of artificial intelligence platforms, citing dramatic risks to civilization.
The letter, signed by more than 1,000 people including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, asks AI developers to agree to a six-month pause in all projects so that independent overseers can assess progress for any AI exceeding the capabilities of GPT-4. OpenAI’s latest model exhibits human-level performance at professional and academic benchmarks. The letter was sent by the Future of Life Institute, Fox News reports.
In their plea, the writers argue that no one “can understand, predict, or reliably control” the results of AI-generated content, especially if humans try to compel the machine-learning technology to producing propaganda or lies. They also cite the widespread concern that AI could one day replace humans for many of today’s commonplace jobs.
“AI labs and independent experts should use this pause to jointly develop and implement a set of shared safety protocols for advanced AI design and development that are rigorously audited and overseen by independent outside experts. In parallel, AI developers must work with policymakers to dramatically accelerate development of robust AI governance systems,” the letter states.
The popularity of Microsoft-backed ChatGPT has brought new attention to a field that for years has been hampered by setbacks or underwhelming performance in real-life settings. Tesla Motors, which uses AI in its driving systems, has struggled to produce the 100 percent self-driving cars that many initially hoped for. Upon its launch, Amazon’s AI facial recognition system incorrectly identified members of Congress and exhibited racial biases in its outcomes.
Congressional response to the progress of AI has been decidedly mixed. A bipartisan coalition in 2020 called for a national AI strategy, but in 2023 Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California called for the passage of a bill regulating AI technology that itself was written by an AI. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has pledged to require that all members of the House Intelligence Committee receive trainings in AI and Quantum.