A group of prominent figures in the tech industry, including Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, have signed an open letter urging Artificial intelligence labs to suspend the development of artificial intelligence systems that are more powerful than the newly released GPT-4.
The letter, titled “Pause the Giant Experiments in AI: An Open Letter”, was released by Future of Life, an institution that counts Musk as one of its biggest funders. The signatories argue that AI systems with competitive intelligence with humans can pose profound risks to society and humanity and that precautions are not being taken.
The letter cites the Asilomar Principles, a set of 23 guidelines listed at a 2017 conference in California, which state that advanced AI should be planned and managed with commensurate care and resources.
The signatories recommend that the development of systems more advanced than GPT-4 be immediately suspended until a global protocol is created for the use of this technology. If it is not possible to coordinate this temporary suspension in a voluntary and verifiable way, the signatories recommend that governments act to “institute a moratorium” on the experiments.
The fear is that technology will reach the concept of “singularity“, a state in which the machine’s processing capacity will be superior to that of the human brain, giving the machine autonomy of thought.
The letter also notes that artificial intelligence resources are already part of people’s daily lives and are used by companies around the world, including Elon Musk’s Tesla. However, the new generation of bots and AI systems that challenge human intelligence has raised the alarm of researchers.
The alert comes after the enormous popularity achieved by ChatGPT, created by OpenAI, especially after the system was incorporated into Microsoft’s Bing. OpenAI’s GPT-4, released this month, is a “great multimodal model” that accepts images and text as inputs, demonstrating human-like performance in a variety of professional and academic activities.
The signatories of the letter include prominent figures from various fields, such as Yuval Noah Harari, Stuart Russell, Evan Sharp, Rachel Bronson, Jaan Tallinn, and Yoshua Bengio. The letter can be signed by anyone on the Future of Life website and already has over a thousand supporters. The theme of AI safety is very dear to Musk, who organized another open letter on the subject in 2015, which had the support of Stephen Hawking and other scientists.