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Elon Musk, tech experts urge AI labs to pump the brakes on further development, citing 'profound risks to society and humanity'
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Elon Musk, tech experts urge AI labs to pump the brakes on further development, citing 'profound risks to society and humanity'

Elon Musk and a group of tech experts recently signed an open letter urging artificial intelligence labs to pause further development on AI systems that are more powerful than OpenAI's GPT-4.

More than 1,000 industry experts and executives, including Musk, signed the letter issued by Future of Life Institute, a nonprofit primarily funded by the Musk foundation, according to the European Union's transparency register.

The letter called for advanced AI training to be paused for six months while shared safety protocol could be developed, implemented, and reviewed by independent experts. It claimed that AI systems could "pose profound risks to society and humanity" and therefore require "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," it stated.

The letter argued that AI technology should only be advanced when "we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable."

It called for labs to immediately halt AI training "more powerful than GPT-4" and noted that the pause "should be public and verifiable."

"If such a pause cannot be enacted quickly, governments should step in and institute a moratorium," the letter added.

It clarified that signatories are not requesting that labs pause general AI development. Instead, they are urging the industry to step back from "the dangerous race to ever-larger unpredictable black-box models with emergent capabilities."

The open letter also called on the AI industry to work with lawmakers to implement regulatory authorities responsible for oversight and auditing, watermarking systems to distinguish AI-generated content, public funding for safety research, liability for AI-related harm, and "well-resourced institutions for coping with the dramatic economic and political disruptions (especially to democracy) that AI will cause."

Signatories include Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang, and AI experts Yoshua Bengio and Stuart Russell.

OpenAI released GPT-4 earlier this month, which is considered to be far more advanced than GPT-3 at generating human-like responses to user prompts.

In an interview with ABC News this month, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman admitted that he is "a little bit scared" of his company's creation. Moreover, he admitted that the technology is likely "going to eliminate a lot of current jobs."

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