Tech Industry Experts Seek to Reduce Risk of AI’s Threat to Humanity
In March, a group of tech industry experts wrote an open letter calling for the halt of advanced AI model development due to the potential “profound risk to society and humanity”. This week, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, along with “godfather” of AI Geoffrey Hinton and other industry leaders, have signed a statement that aims to reduce the risk of AI to the point where it could push humanity to extinction. The statement’s preface encourages industry leaders to discuss the most severe threats that AI poses to humanity.
According to the statement, the risk that AI poses to humanity is comparable to that of global pandemics and nuclear war. Researchers from Google DeepMind, Kevin Scott, Microsoft’s chief technology officer, and Bruce Schneier, an internet security pioneer, are among the cosigners of the statement.
While today’s large language models (LLMs) popularized by Altman’s ChatGPT cannot yet achieve artificial general intelligence (AGI), industry leaders are concerned about LLMs progressing to that point. AGI is a concept that defines an artificially intelligent being that can equate to or surpass human intelligence.
OpenAI, Google DeepMind, and Anthropic are all working towards achieving AGI, but each company recognizes that there could be significant consequences if their technologies achieve AGI. Altman testified in front of Congress earlier this month that his greatest fear is that AI “cause[s] significant harm to the world”, and that this harm could occur in multiple ways.
Hinton, who worked on neural networks at Google, abruptly resigned from his position just a few weeks earlier, telling CNN that he’s “just a scientist who suddenly realized that these things are getting smarter than us.”
As AI continues to progress, industry leaders are becoming increasingly aware of the potential risks and consequences that it poses to humanity. The statement signed by Altman, Hinton, and other industry leaders is a call to action for industry leaders to openly discuss the most severe threats that AI poses to humanity and work towards reducing these risks.