Will There Be (Can there Be) a Pause on AI Development?

pause button

Excitement about the potential of artificial intelligence it equaled by fears of what it might do in the future. Some prominent tech leaders, including the very vocal Elon Musk, have co-signed a letter that encourages a six-month pause on a pool of advanced AI systems such as ChatGPT, so that "their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable".

The opening of that letter states:

"AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity, as shown by extensive research[1] and acknowledged by top AI labs.[2] As stated in the widely-endorsed Asilomar AI Principles, Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned for and managed with 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."

I don't think that there will be any pause on AI development and I don't think there can be any pause. Research and technology always move forward and economics is also energizing this particular development. You may be hearing a lot about students using AI to write their research papers, but those tools are also being used by legitimate businesses to create text for their use. And other AI tools are already embedded in our cars, homes, phones, and on the very Internet you are using to read this.

I agree with two points on this made recently by Amber Mac:

"There is no pause button in the AI race. To think that the world's leading AI labs would work together to stop advancements they've made is naive, as much as it might be helpful for them to do so. The world's most polluting businesses can't even agree on what needs to be done in today's climate fight, which is a more pressing concern.

The signatories knew the AI race was on fast forward. While 2022 marked the year the general population was aware that artificial intelligence tools such as ChatGPT would change their lives (or at least their jobs), many of the people who signed this letter were well aware years ago that this type of AI work was underway."


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