Dozens of experts in artificial intelligence (AI), including the CEOs of OpenAI, Google DeepMind and Anthropic, recently signed an open statement published by the Center for AI Security (CAIS).
We just put out a statement:
“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”
Signatories include Hinton, Bengio, Altman, Hassabis, Song, etc.https://t.co/N9f6hs4bpa
— Dan Hendrycks (@DanHendrycks) May 30, 2023
The declaration contains a single sentence:
“Mitigate AI extinction risk should be a global priority alongside other societal risks like pandemics and nuclear war.”
Among the document’s signatories is a veritable “who’s who” of AI luminaries, including the “Godfather” of AI, Geoffrey Hinton; Stuart Russell, from the University of California at Berkeley; and Lex Fridman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Musician Grimes is also one of the signatories, in the “other notable figures” category.
Although the statement may seem innocuous at first glance, the underlying message is somewhat controversial in the AI community.
An apparently growing number of experts believe that current technologies can or will inevitably lead to the emergence or development of an AI system capable of posing an existential threat to the human species.
His views, however, are contested by a contingent of experts with diametrically opposed opinions. Yann LeCun, Meta’s chief AI scientist, for example, has indicated on numerous occasions that he doesn’t necessarily believe that the AI will become uncontrollable.
Super-human AI is nowhere near the top of the list of existential risks.
In large part because it doesn’t exist yet.
Until we have a basic design for even dog-level AI (let alone human level), discussing how to make it safe is premature. https://t.co/ClkZxfofV9
— Yann LeCun (@ylecun) May 30, 2023
For him and others who disagree with In the rhetoric of “extinction”, as Andrew Ng, co-founder of Google Brain and former chief scientist at Baidu, AI is not the problem, but the answer.
On the other side of the argument, experts like Hinton and Connor Leahy, CEO of Conjecture, they believe that human-level AI is inevitable and therefore the time to act is now.
Heads of all major AI labs signed this letter explicitly acknowledging the risk of extinction from AGI.
An incredible step forward, congratulations to Dan for his incredible work putting this together and thank you to every signatory for doing their part for a better future! https://t.co/KDkqWvdJcH
— Connor Leahy (@NPCollapse) May 30, 2023
However, it is not clear what actions the signatories of the statement are calling for. The signatories include the CEOs and/or AI managers of almost every major AI company, as well as renowned scientists from academia, making it clear that the intention is not to stop the development of these potentially dangerous systems.
Earlier this month, the CEO of OpenAI, Sam Altmann, one of the signers of the aforementioned statement, appeared for the first time before Congress during a Senate hearing to debate AI regulation. His testimony made headlines after he devoted most of it to urging lawmakers to regulate his industry.
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