THE CONTROVERSIAL LETTER ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. On March 22, through an open letter jointly signed by more than 1,000 experts in the field of artificial intelligence, an appeal was made “to all AI laboratories to immediately stop training for at least six months one of the most powerful AI systems than GPT-4”. “If such a pause cannot be quickly enacted, governments should step in.” Among the signatories, the well-known Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter, or Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, or experts such as Yoshua Bengio, winner of the Turing Award and professor at the University of Montreal –considered one of the Godfathers of AI – or Gary Marcus, a New York University professor and veteran researcher.
Published by the Future of Life Institute (FLI), which coordinated this initiative citing research by experts, university academics and employees –and former employees– of OpenAI, Google and its subsidiary DeepMind, today it has more than 31,800 supports. The problem is that when it launched in March, it lacked identity verification protocols and amassed signatures from people who didn’t really support it, like Xi Jinping, the president of the People’s Republic of China, or the artificial intelligence guru of Meta Yann LeCun –winner of the 2018 Turing Award along with Yoshua Bengio–, who clarified on Twitter that he did not support her. The controversy was served.
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Among other questions, the letter asked: “Should we automate all jobs?” “Should we develop non-human minds that could eventually outnumber, outsmart, and replace us?” “Should we risk losing control?” In a March 29 Time magazine article, friendly artificial intelligence expert and advocate Eliezer Yudkowsky went further, noting: “We’re not ready.” The question is not competitive intelligence, according to Yudkowsky, it is what comes next, “when it is smarter than human.” The limits are not clear and calculating what will happen and when is impossible. Are we hurtling towards a catastrophe and should we hit the brakes? We are on time? No one knows… and there is no plan B. Perhaps we should start by agreeing on the moral implications and how dangerous – and not just beneficial, which it is – AI could be.
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