“Tech leaders” want to stop AI as a threat to society. If the threat it poses to some incumbent corporate positions in tech also looms large, it’s only fair to point out that their open letter denouncing AI was also signed by many researchers, famous engineers (Woz!) and academics.
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? 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. This confidence must be well justified and increase with the magnitude of a system’s potential effects. OpenAI’s recent statement regarding artificial general intelligence, states that “At some point, it may be important to get independent review before starting to train future systems, and for the most advanced efforts to agree to limit the rate of growth of compute used for creating new models.” We agree. That point is now.
Therefore, we call on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4. This pause should be public and verifiable, and include all key actors. If such a pause cannot be enacted quickly, governments should step in and institute a moratorium.
Hear hear, I suppose? Slowing down and not breaking anything would be nice for a change, but this is an arms race and you need coercive force behind “verification” and good luck finding it.
I love how The New York Times poses this as “Elon Musk and Others Call for Pause on A.I.” Even after the last six months, Musk is still the preeminent public intellectual in tech to them. It’s a narrative impervious to correction, like Ben Shapiro being the “cool kids’ philosopher” (a formulation so inane it brings to mind Voltaire’s remark on the Holy Roman Empire: “neither cool, nor kids, nor a philosopher.”) We might be in the simulation, yet all these people are dissimulating. No-one is any the wiser for either the bleating or the reporting.