Elon Musk Requests Emergency Pause On AI 

(PresidentialDaily.org)- Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is part of a group of experts on artificial intelligence and executives in the technology industry who believe that all the advancement in artificial intelligence needs to stop, at least temporarily. 

The group said recently that a pause of six months is needed in regard to developing systems that are potentially more powerful than the newly-launched GPT-4 created by OpenAI. They wrote an open letter recently that cited the reasons for their suggestions as the risks it poses to society. 

OpenAI, backed by Microsoft, unveiled its fourth iteration of what it calls GPT AI program, which stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer. Users have been completely wowed by the program thus far, as it engages with them in a conversation that’s very human-like. It’s also been able to summarize very long documents and even compose songs. 

But, while all this is impressive, there are some potential dangers in it as well. As the letter, which the Future of Life Institute issued, said: 

“Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable.” 

The Institute, which is a non-profit foundation, gets most of its funding by the Musk Foundation, Founders Pledge – a group based out of London – and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. 

While Musk is one of the co-founders of OpenAI, one of the leaders in the industry, and his electric vehicle maker Tesla even uses AI in its autopilot system, the entrepreneur is still very wary about the technology. Earlier in the month, he even said that AI stresses him out. 

Musk has expressed much frustration in the past about regulators who are critical about the autopilot system, yet he’s hoping that a regulatory authority might take charge to ensure that AI developments only serve the best public interest. 

Cornell University’s professor of digital and information law, James Grimmelmann, recently commented on the situation surrounding Musk and AI by saying: 

“It is … deeply hypocritical for Elon Musk to sign on given how hard Tesla has fought against accountability for the defective AI in its self-driving cars. A pause is a good idea, but the letter is vague and doesn’t take the regulatory problems seriously.” 

Just last month, Tesla was forced to recall 362,000 vehicles in the United States so that it could update part of their software. That happened following U.S. regulators saying the vehicles’ driver assistance system could end up causing crashes. 

When that happened, Musk tweeted that using the word “recall” for a software update done over-the-air is “anachronistic and just flat wrong!” 

OpenAI hasn’t publicly commented on the letter calling for the pause in development just yet.  

In addition to Musk, there were nearly 1,000 other people who signed onto the letter.  

Some of the prominent tech people who didn’t sign it were Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI; Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet (the parent company of Google); and Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft.