Elon Musk and Others Want To Pause A.I. Development Due to 'Risks to Society'

Musk and others in his field lent their names to the open letter.

What’s happening: As artificial intelligence rapidly advances, Elon Musk and other prominent figures are citing concerns that the technology could pose a risk to society. Over 1,000 people, including Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, urged in an open letter for a six-month pause on developing A.I.

Why is a pause necessary? According to the letter, A.I. threatens our society because of its ability to share “propaganda and untruth” and its potential to take over all jobs, “including the fulfilling ones.” The letter addresses all A.I. companies and efforts, but the most notable is OpenAI, which recently announced GPT-4, an even more powerful version of their ChatGPT technology shown to be able to draft lawsuits and pass standardized tests.

Why it matters: A.I. and its potential consequences have become a large part of the cultural conversation over the last few months. In February, Bing’s A.I. chatbot threatened users, and this week, A.I.-generated, lifelike images of Pope Francis fooled possibly thousands of Twitter users. The letter states that A.I. “should be developed only once we are confident that [its] effects will be positive and [its] risks will be manageable.”

An A.I.-generated image shared by former president Donald Trump.