The recent public letter signed by Elon Musk and other experts calling for a pause in the development of artificial intelligence has sparked a heated debate among academics. The letter, published on the futureoflife.org site, raises concerns about the potential economic and political disruptions that AI could cause.
However, some academics have protested the letter, stating that it misrepresents the discussion around AI. Timnit Gebru, a researcher specializing in ethics of artificial intelligence, claims that the letter contradicts the arguments made in her own academic article that was quoted in the letter.
Emily Bender, another author of the article, has criticized the letter as a “muddle,” stating that even its creators cannot reliably understand or control the implications of AI.
The director of Open AI, Sam Altman, has acknowledged his concern about the potential for large-scale disinformation or cyberattacks using AI technology. However, Gebru and Bender argue that the concentration of power in the hands of the elite and the potential reproduction of systems of oppression are even greater risks.
Although industry giants such as Google, Meta, and Microsoft have been researching AI-based programs for years to speed up tasks such as translation or targeted advertising, it is the algorithms of companies like OpenAI that have sparked controversy. Its chatbot ChatGPT, updated with a new and more powerful version, GPT-4, is capable of holding complex conversations with humans.
The debate continues regarding the potential risks and benefits of AI technology. However, the signatories of the open letter emphasize the need for caution and deliberation when it comes to decisions about the future of AI development.