Tesla, Twitter and SpaceX owner Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak are losing sleep over the same problem. The latest advances in artificial intelligence, especially the development of long language models like GPT-4, are happening too fast and out of control.
The consequences can be disastrous for society. Not because these artificial intelligences are going to become self-aware and control their creators, like in science fiction novels and movies, but because they threaten to eliminate millions of jobs and multiply the problem of misinformation.
And they are not the only ones who think so. More than 1,000 people including several important names from the world of technology and research, such as the director of the Center for Intelligent Systems at the University of Berkley, Stuart Russell, or the Spanish researcher Ramón Lopez De Mantaras, from the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute of the CSIC, are also concerned. They have all signed a petition from the Institute for the Future of Life, a non-profit institution that has been trying for years to create a regulatory framework around artificial intelligence. They are looking for OpenAI and other artificial intelligence companies to stop research for 6 months to try to consider the impact these tools have.
"Contemporary AI systems are catching up with humans in general tasks and we must ask ourselves: Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda? Should we automate all jobs? Should we develop non-human minds that eventually could they outnumber us, outsmart and replace us? Should we risk losing control of our civilization?" the petition creators ask.
The purpose of the pause is for AI labs and independent experts to use it to develop and implement a set of common security protocols for advanced AI design and development, audited and monitored by independent external experts.
But behind Musk's signing, at least, there might be less altruistic motives. Musk was one of the founders of OpenAI, the company behind the GPT-4 language model and ChatGPT, but he left the firm, then a non-profit organization, saying they weren't moving fast enough. Musk tried to convince the other founding partners to make him CEO, but the board ultimately chose Sam Altman.
After securing significant funding from Microsoft, abandoning non-profit status and becoming the benchmark in artificial intelligence, Musk has begun to openly criticize OpenAI and threaten to create a rival for the firm.
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