Top AI researchers and Elon Musk ask for a pause to massive AI projects

Elon Musk and many other well-known AI researchers have signed an open letter urging AI labs all around the world to put a stop to the creation of large-scale AI systems out of concern for the “deep hazards to society and mankind” that they assert this software poses.

The letter, which was released by the charitable Future of Life Institute, states that
AI labs are currently locked in an “out-of-control race” to develop and deploy machine learning systems “that no one — not even their creators — can understand, predict, or reliably control.”
“Therefore, we call on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4,” says the letter. “This pause should be public and verifiable and include all key actors. If such a pause cannot be enacted quickly, governments should step in and institute a moratorium.”

The letter is unlikely to have much impact on the current state of AI development, where tech giants like Google and Microsoft have been rushing to release new products while frequently putting aside previously-admitted worries about ethics and safety. But, it is an indication of the growing hostility to this “ship it now and fix it later” strategy, which may eventually enter politics for consideration by genuine legislators.

Even OpenAI itself has acknowledged the potential need for “independent evaluation” of future AI systems to make sure they adhere to safety standards, as is mentioned in the letter. According to the signatories, this moment has arrived.