Artificial intelligence experts came together in May to call the technology an “existential threat” to humanity. Here’s what they wrote according to Cristina Criddle, Javier Espinoza, and Qianer Liu reporting for the Financial Times:
“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority,” it said, “alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”
That single sentence invoking the threat of human eradication, signed by hundreds of chief executives and scientists from companies including OpenAI, Google’s DeepMind, Anthropic and Microsoft, made global headlines.
Driving all of these experts to speak up was the promise, but also the risk, of generative AI, a type of the technology that can process and generate vast amounts of data.
The release of ChatGPT by OpenAI in November spurred a rush of feverish excitement as it demonstrated the ability of large language models, the underlying technology behind the chatbot, to conjure up convincing passages of text, able to write an essay or improve your emails.
It created a race between companies in the sector to launch their own generative AI tools for consumers that could generate text and realistic imagery.
The hype around the technology has also led to an increased awareness of its dangers: the potential to create and spread misinformation as democratic elections approach; its ability to replace or transform jobs, especially in the creative industries; and the less immediate risk of it becoming more intelligent than and superseding humans.
The Senate brought tech moguls and CEOs to Washington, D.C., yesterday to discuss regulating the industry’s AI operations. Ryan Lovelace reports in The Washington Times:
Scores of senators privately huddled with Big Tech leaders Wednesday in Washington to jump-start the process of writing rules for artificial intelligence intended to keep people safe and foster American innovation.
More than 60 senators attended the closed-door gathering, according to Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer. He convened the insight forum to bypass the traditional open committee structure when hearing from tech leads such as Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai, and several others.
Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, acknowledged the daunting task of crafting comprehensive AI legislation before next year’s elections.
“This is the hardest thing that I think we have ever undertaken but we can’t be like ostriches and put our heads in the sand,” Mr. Schumer told reporters. “Because if we don’t step forward, things will be a lot worse.”
Mr. Musk, who was seated more than a dozen spots away from his rival Mr. Zuckerberg, said he did not see much disagreement at the meeting but did not believe that Congress was ready to regulate.
“The sequence of events will not be jumping in at the deep end and making rules,” Mr. Musk told reporters outside the Senate after exiting the meeting.
Action Line: So, can AI’s dangers be regulated away? It’s more likely that the market will shape AI’s future than the government. Click here to subscribe to my free monthly Survive & Thrive letter.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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