More than a thousand leading people in the technology sector are very concerned about the rapid development of artificial intelligence. In an open letter, Tesla boss Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, among others, call for a temporary pause in AI development.
Musk, Wozniak, Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari and other authors of the letter point out that powerful AI systems can take over the work of humans. As a result, we run the risk of many people losing their jobs. This has major social consequences, warn the signatories of the letter.
In addition, there is a risk that these programs “flood our information channels with propaganda and untruths”.
The signatories therefore ask developers of AI systems not to build programs more powerful than GPT-4 for six months. That is the latest version of the language model from technology company OpenAI. This model can, for example, write complete texts and create images with simple commands.
Letter signatories want more oversight of AI
During the development break, AI researchers and independent experts should make agreements about the safety of AI, the signatories believe. This must then be subject to independent supervision. At the same time, governments should set up new institutions to oversee the development of AI.
“Should we automate all jobs, including the fulfilling work? Should we develop non-human minds that can eventually outclass and replace us? Should we risk the loss of our civilization? Those decisions should not be left to unelected tech managers,” the letter reads.
According to the signatories, the development pause does not equate to a suspension of AI development: rather, it should be held back in the “dangerous race towards ever larger, unpredictable models with new capabilities”.
The open letter has already been signed by more than eleven hundred leading people from the technology sector on Wednesday afternoon.