Elon Musk, among other tech leaders including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn, is calling for a pause on the development of artificial intelligence (AI) due to “profound risks”.
The group signed an open letter urging labs training AI systems to stop development for at least six months until the technology can be made more accurate, safe and transparent.
This move comes as US tech firm OpenAI released its latest AI chatbot ChatGPT, which can understand the context of follow-up questions and admit mistakes, earlier this month. The technology reportedly reached over 100 million active users in January this year.
The letter highlights concerns over the rapid growth of AI, which some feel is becoming “human competitive at general tasks”.
The letter reads: “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… 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 calls for researchers to focus on ensuring that AI technology is accurate, safe and transparent.
Despite the rapid development of AI technology, the software is still not fully reliable and may “hallucinate” – invent facts or make reasoning errors. OpenAI’s new software, GPT-4, is reported to have “more advanced reasoning skills” than ChatGPT, but it is not yet certain how reliable it is.
Musk and his colleagues are cautious about the consequences of the rapid growth of AI, with the letter calling for a focus on the positive benefits that AI can bring.
The letter concludes: “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… We can do so here. Let’s enjoy a long AI summer, not rush unprepared into a fall.”
As AI technology continues to grow, concerns are being raised about the risks associated with its development.
However, some experts believe that AI has the potential to greatly benefit society, and so it is important to ensure that it is developed safely and transparently.
Only time will tell what the future holds for AI, but it is clear that it is a technology that cannot be ignored.