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Elon Musk and other tech leaders demand a six-month break from the training of AI systems


Multimodal generative AI is already here and now; it is no longer in the future. In recent months, generative AI models have become widely used thanks to OpenAI’s GPT-4 and Microsoft. Similar paths are being taken by other businesses, including Google, in an effort to catch up. Elon Musk, CEO of Twitter, Tesla, SpaceX, Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, and other IT titans have now signed an open letter to stop the creation of this form of AI.

The FutureOfLife initiative, a group that seeks to tighten limitations on AI development due to worries about the rise of artificial general intelligence, is the source of the open letter (AGI). They are asking tech companies to commit to pausing the creation of AI that is more potent than OpenAI’s GPT-4 for a minimum of six months.

GPT-4 is generative and multimodal. Multimodal refers to the ability to give a variety of natural response processes for various jobs, such as image generation, text response in natural language, and audio. An intelligence that can produce these responses is known as generative AI. These models are self-learning, but they still require a data collection and require human oversight.

AGI, on the other hand, is an intelligence that can pick up on human tasks as we advance towards more potent AI than GPT-4. There are worries that this potent AI could develop a sense of self and turn harmful. If that is hazardous as a threat to cybersecurity or hazardous like an apocalyptic conflict between humans and machines like in The Terminator.

FutureOfLife encourages AI research laboratories to create standardized safety procedures for the advancement of AI. Additionally, it calls for a rigid independent regulator to oversee continuous AI development. The positions of both firms are clear despite the fact that neither Microsoft nor OpenAI have replied to the letter because they are not signatories.

Here is Full Letter

“AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity, as shown by extensive research and acknowledged by top AI labs. As stated in the widely-endorsed Asilomar AI Principles, Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned for and managed with commensurate care and resources. Unfortunately, this level of planning and management is not happening, even though recent months have seen AI labs 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.

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.

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. These protocols should ensure that systems adhering to them are safe beyond a reasonable doubt. This does not mean a pause on AI development in general, merely a stepping back from the dangerous race to ever-larger unpredictable black-box models with emergent capabilities.

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.

AI research and development should be refocused on making today’s powerful, state-of-the-art systems more accurate, safe, interpretable, transparent, robust, aligned, trustworthy, and loyal.

In parallel, AI developers must work with policymakers to dramatically accelerate development of robust AI governance systems. These should at a minimum include: new and capable regulatory authorities dedicated to AI; oversight and tracking of highly capable AI systems and large pools of computational capability; provenance and watermarking systems to help distinguish real from synthetic and to track model leaks; a robust auditing and certification ecosystem; liability for AI-caused harm; robust public funding for technical AI safety research; and well-resourced institutions for coping with the dramatic economic and political disruptions (especially to democracy) that AI will cause.

Humanity can enjoy a flourishing future with AI. Having succeeded in creating powerful AI systems, we can now enjoy an “AI summer” in which we reap the rewards, engineer these systems for the clear benefit of all, and give society a chance to adapt. Society has hit pause on other technologies with potentially catastrophic effects on society.  We can do so here. Let’s enjoy a long AI summer, not rush unprepared into a fall.”

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