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March 29, 2023

A Plea to Stop: Open Letter to AI

Artificially intelligent technology is developing at an unprecedented rate; regulations cannot keep up

In an open letter dated March 29, 2023, leading AI labs were urged to "immediately" pause the training of a novel, all-powerful system for the next six months. The signatories including Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, and Yuval Noah Harari, concur that the recent advances in artificial intelligence pose "profound risks to society and humanity".

The AI in training, is predicted to be more formidable than OpenAI’s ChatGPT-4, which piques essential questions on the history of life on Earth. Marshal McLuhan, an iconic linguist and media theorist, believed that media are extensions of our senses: a book for our eyes, clothes for our skin, electronic circuitry for our nervous system. Similarly, a technological apparatus that may instantaneously process and produce information, quite literally, broadens the scope of our existence.The AI-powered language model has the ability to tangibly alter the way humans relate to the world.

Considering the sheer significance of this technology, experts rally for a pause in its development, and advise to proceed cautiously. If humans and machines must co-exist, a framework of regulations must be established: “[u]nfortunately, this level of planning and management is not happening [...]” as quoted from the open letter.

In an interaction with TIME, Simeon Campos, the CEO of SaferAI discussed his qualms about managing an opaque system, whose inner-workings are obscure even to its inventors. “We’re scaling such systems to unprecedented levels of capabilities in a race at full speed with transformative effects on society. We must slow down the development of these systems [...]” he stated.

At the end of Mary Shelley’s novel, Victor Frankenstein dies in the cold Arctic, wishing he could destroy the monster of his creation. Years of AI research is climaxing; science has birthed a non-human mind that is infinitely superior to ours. The open letter encourages engineers to be weary of technology. The decisions we, as a society, make now, could potentially impact the future of our existence on Earth.

Kriti Swarup
Kriti Swarup
Content Writer at TechNews180
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