1,100+ notable signatories just signed an open letter asking “all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months”
As of this writing, more than 1,100 signatories, including Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, and Tristan Harris of the Center for Humane Technology, have signed an open letter that calls on “all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4.”
The letter reads:
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.
The letter argues that there is a “level of planning and management” that is “not happening,” and that instead, in recent months, unnamed “AI labs” have been “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.”
The letter’s signatories, some of whom are AI experts, say the pause they are asking for should be “public and verifiable, and include all key actors.” If said pause “cannot be enacted quickly, governments should step in and institute a moratorium,” the letter says.
We’re still digesting this one (others are already tearing it to shreds).
The letter is interesting both because of the people who have signed — which includes some engineers from Meta and Google, Stability AI founder and CEO Emad Mostaque, and people not in tech, including a self-described electrician and an esthetician — and those who have not. No one from OpenAI, the outfit behind the large language model GPT-4, has signed this letter, for example. Nor has anyone from Anthropic, whose team spun out of OpenAI to build a “safer” AI chatbot.
You can read the letter in full here.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.