A petition started by the Future of Life Institute is circulating online with some heavy hitters signing on in agreement. The petition states:
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…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.”
The petition goes on to call for a “public and verifiable” pause of at least 6 months all AI systems that are more powerful that the ChatGPT-4. It also calls for independent oversight and rigid auditing to ensure they are “safe beyond a reasonable doubt”.
The petition has garnered signatures from some notable figures in the tech world: Elon Musk (CEO of SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter), Steve Wozniak (co-founder of Apple), Jaan Tallinn (co-founder of Skype, Future of Life Institute), Evan Sharp (co-founder of Pinterest), Emad Mostaque (CEO of Stability AI), and several others ranging from MIT and Harvard professors and executives, to other CEOs of AI start-ups, and other notable figureheads around the world.
The late physicist Stephen Hawking was famously critical of artificial intelligence. In 2017, The Independent quoted Hawking saying:
“I fear that AI may replace humans altogether,” he said in an interview with Wired magazine, seen by Cambridge News.
“If people design computer viruses, someone will design AI that improves and replicates itself. This will be a new form of life that outperforms humans.”
In that same article, Elon Musk said:
…he [Musk] should be “on the list of people who should absolutely *not* be allowed to develop digital superintelligence”.
You can sign the Future of Life Institute’s petition here.