Experts Urge a Six Month Moratorium on AI Research

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From Watts Up With That?

Essay by Eric Worrall

The Terminator. Fair Use, Low Resolution Image to Identify the Subject.

AI is terrifying – but the one thing which is worse than developing a dangerous superhuman AI, is for your enemies to develop it first.

Tech experts call for 6-month pause on AI development

As artificial intelligence makes rapid advances, a group of experts has called for a pause. They have warned of the negative effects runaway development could have on society and humanity.

Several leaders in the field of cutting-edge technology have signed a letter that was published on Wednesday, calling for artificial intelligence developers to pause their work for six months.

The letter warns of potential risks to society and humanity as tech giants such as Google and Microsoft race to build AI programs that can learn independently.

The warning comes after the release earlier this month of GPT-4 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), an AI program developed by OpenAI with backing from Microsoft.

“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 said.

…Read more:

The open letter is available here.

I have high hopes for the AI scare. As I’ve predicted several times, I believe fear of malevolent AI will be the next great public fear to replace the climate scare. If I keep predicting it I’ll be right sooner or later, you’ll see.

Is AI actually a great threat? From what I’ve seen it is more of a great productivity boost.

A fellow software developer uses ChatGPT all the time to do simple software development tasks. For example, we had to migrate a configuration script to a different system which required a similar setup but used different commands to perform the same setup functions.

So we asked ChatGPT to do the translation, something we could have done in 15 minutes.

The outcome was perfect. ChatGPT not only did the translation, it correctly identified we needed an additional configuration step which we hadn’t noticed. Saved us at least 10 minutes work.

But I don’t fear ChatGPT will replace me anytime soon – most of my day was spent on problems ChatGPT can’t answer.

What about other professions?

A journalist using ChatGPT could use ChatGPT to suggest text, to provide inspiration – an enormous boost to productivity. But you would be taking a serious gamble to publish ChatGPT screed, without allowing an expert human editor to at least review the product. And given ChatGPT generates its work from the work of others, there would be a substantial risk of accidental plagiarism.

Will AI be a genuine threat in the future?

A decade or two from now, who knows. But fear of the unknown is what you need, to build a great public fear campaign. And there is always the rather disturbing but I believe ultimately necessary option of merging with our creation, augmenting our human brains with AI implants, if we start to fall behind.