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Wozniak, Musk & more call for 'out-of-control' AI development pause

Google Bard is rolling out to users.

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Steve Wozniak, Elon Musk, and over 1,000 others have signed an open letter asking for an immediate six-month halt on AI technology more powerful than ChatGPT-4.

This has been the year of artificial intelligence agents such as ChatGPT and Google Bard becoming mainstream. Despite all AI companies describing their products as experiments, or effectively beta releases, their language-processing features are being integrated into Microsoft 365 and searches including Bing.

Now the Future of Life Institute is asking for "public and verifiable" pause that includes "all key actors" in the field. "If such a pause cannot be enacted quickly," it adds, "governments should step in and institute a moratorium"

The Future of Life Institute aims to "steer transformative technology towards benefitting life and away from extreme large-scale risks."

This 600-word letter, aimed at all AI developers, argues that a pause is needed because "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."

"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," it continues. "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," says the open letter, "merely a stepping back from the dangerous race to ever-larger unpredictable black-box models with emergent capabilities."

At time of writing, the institute's open letter has 1,123 signatories. Those include high-profile ones such as:

  • Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, Tesla & Twitter
  • Steve Wozniak, Co-founder, Apple
  • Jaan Tallinn, Co-Founder of Skype
  • Evan Sharp, Co-Founder, Pinterest

Both Google and Microsoft have been working to implement technology tools based on new AI chatbot systems. The initial launch of Microsoft's Bing implementation fared poorly and Google's Bard made a factual error in its first demo.