wExperts are terrified of AI, and at the end of March more than 1,000 of our greatest technological leaders, researchers and major developers working with Artificial Intelligence signed an open letter warning how Artificial Intelligence technologies are currently posing a profound risk to society, humanity, and our technological future.
The letter, which also contains Elon Musk‘s signature, asks to halt the development of Artificial Intelligence systems for six months so that humanity has time to catch up and better understand the dangers behind the technology.
If this doesn’t happen, the consequences can be astronomical. Not only are normal people relatively uneducated on the impacts AI has on us and our future, but even the greatest prizewinning experts of our time admit to not understanding much at all.
Regardless of the results, staying informative and understanding the impact to the best of our ability is now the best way we can stop the spread of the AI plague. In this article I will summarize this open letter, the major concerns of tech experts, and how this will impact our future.
The Letter: A Desperate Plea for Sanity
The letter is brief, but it conveys a broad perspective that Artificial Intelligence has potential risks, which are yet to be fully comprehended. To put it simply: technology is developing and expanding too fast for us to fully comprehend what is going on, and we need to take time to properly assess the risks before moving on.
Besides the disturbing fact that even the worlds leading experts on technology are scared of AI, it’s also just generally terrifying that they don’t even understand why. They don’t want to halt the development “just because” — they want to halt it because even the greatest minds of our time struggle to comprehend what the hell is going on
Billions of dollars have been invested by major companies such as OpenAI and Google to create large language models (LLMs) using neural networks that are often referred to as “black boxes” due to their complexity. I highly recommend doing more research on just how dangerous this lack of knowledge is, and I’ve gone further in depth about this topic here.
Why Exactly Experts Are Terrified of AI?
Technological experts are worried about three major factors that can have a serious negative impact on us and our environment: disinformation, loss of jobs, and loss of control. Essentially a set of short, medium, and long-term risks that we need proper time to assess.
First off, most experts are starting to realize that because of the intense human-like nature that LLM’s like ChatGPT pose, people are relying on it for much more than they should. ChatGPT will gladly say completely made-up facts or stories with the utmost confidence, which is going to have a significant impact on the spread of disinformation.
What is worse is the AI emotional support aspect, which is a completely contradicting sentence in and of itself. Artificial Intelligence is terrible emotional support because it doesn’t have emotions. It is a soulless machine that lacks both empathy and emotional intelligence, yet stories like these show that more and more people are relying on ChatBots to fulfill a void.
So what happens when we start blindly listening to a sociopathic robot who frequently lies and makes things up with the utmost confidence?
Well, we don’t know!
That’s why these experts are pushing so hard for the halt of development so that we can ensure we are properly prepared for the imminent risk Artificial Intelligence poses on us as individuals, society, and the future.
Perhaps more impactful on society, are the experts who worry about the job market. McKinsey predicts that by 2030 up to 800 million people will have had their jobs lost to Artificial Intelligence, which if you put that in perspective is about 30% of the workforce of the entire world.
Cornell also predicts that at least 80% of all jobs will be impacted by AI in some form in the near future and that at least 20% of all workers will see a 50% reduction in workload as a result of AI. Now this is obviously going to have serious implications on people’s livelihoods and the overall world economy, but there could be ways to at least lessen the impact – and that is exactly what these tech giants are aiming for.
There is no doubt that the world is screwed either way, AI has simply gone too far already, but by giving everyone some more time to at least prepare we can have time to adapt to this scary new technology. A common counterargument is that “Oh well in the industrial revolution people lost their jobs too” – but this just doesn’t compare to the industrial revolution.
AI is developing at a significantly faster rate (remember, ChatGPT was literally just released at the very end of 2022) than anything during the industrial revolution. That revolution also did not strip 800 million people of their livelihoods.
Additionally, experts worry that we will simply lose control if we don’t learn how to reign in the rapid pace at which Artificial Intelligence is moving right now. You might think that this is just science fiction, but we are at a point where Black Mirror all of a sudden looks like they were on to something.
Essentially, because the neurological “brainworks” that run the large language models are so hard to understand and often act in unpredictable ways, there is a large probability that AI can start writing its own code. If this happens, combined with the fact that there are currently no restrictions or governance on the technology, things could get really out of hand just a couple of years from now.
Now We Know Why AI is Bad: So What Happens Now?
So is this letter, signed by thousands (27’000 now) going to make an effect?
The government is stupid, corrupt, and lazy. And no one who has the real power to stop it understands or cares about how incredibly dangerous Artificial Intelligence is. To put it frankly: massive corporations and companies are simply making too much money for this to stop.
We’re royally screwed.
A lot of people already know how dangerous it is, which makes it all even more terrifying. Is it apathy or dread that is preventing people from avoiding AI? Regardless, you can read all about what the western worlds public opinion of Artificial Intelligence is right here.
At this time, the only thing we can do is brace ourselves and just understand that the implications that AI poses on our individuality and society are dire, and do our very best to avoid it. By being knowledgeable about the consequences humanity has to face, we will be better prepared to take a stand in the future.
AI is dangerous. Stay in the know, and say no to AI when you can. Avoid reading AI-generated content, sharing AI-generated art, and don’t give in to the shortcuts that will hinder us.