- A group of more than 1,100 AI and technology experts is calling for all AI labs to immediately pause the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4 to better understand the risks of deploying the technology at scale. Experts called for the six-month moratorium Wednesday in an open letter published by The Future of Life Institute.
- The call for an industrywide pause on AI development ahead of a future rollout of GPT-5 has been met with support from executives, formal presidential candidates and engineers, including Elon Musk, Andrew Yang and Noam Shazeer, a major contributor to Google’s LaMDA model.
- "This pause should be public and verifiable, and include all key actors,” the letter said. “If such a pause cannot be enacted quickly, governments should step in and institute a moratorium.”
Despite grabbing headlines, the letter may only help direct public discourse — it is unlikely that every company in the industry would agree to a ban.
“I think, unfortunately, the challenge is that the letter that came out was entirely kind of vague or abstract [in terms of] what you would even do in this situation,” CEO of Box Aaron Levie said in an interview with CIO Dive Wednesday. “I don’t really think it’s a super practical approach to just say, ‘We’re going to hit pause as an entire industry for six months,’ partly because nobody would actually agree when can you return to development.”
Others have voiced similar concerns.
“While I am supportive of this open letter, I am skeptical if this approach will work,” Krishna Gade, founder and CEO of Fiddler, said in a LinkedIn post Wednesday. “We need enforceable regulations for AI soon especially given the dangerous race we're in to ever-larger unpredictable black-box models with emergent capabilities.”
Some are looking to government agencies to enforce guardrails, but companies have experienced boosts in stock performance after AI announcements, and many vendors have publicly made it a core focus.
If there’s one thing both sides of the debate can agree on, it’s the speed at which the AI landscape has changed.
"A small group of people are building AI systems at an irresponsible pace far beyond what we can keep up with, and it is only accelerating,” Connor Leahy, CEO at AI alignment research startup Conjecture and one of the signatories on the open letter, said in an email.
OpenAI and Microsoft have been leading the AI arms race hand-in-hand. Microsoft financially backs OpenAI and has integrated the generative AI technology into its cloud services and workplace tools. Microsoft declined to comment on the open letter. And OpenAI, which was explicitly referenced in the open letter, did not respond to requests for comment.
Voluntary guidance surrounding AI development and implementation is not new. In October, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy published a Blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights. Earlier this week, FTC Chair Lina Khan said the Federal Trade Commission would be watching the industry to ensure competition.