This morning I watched a 30 minute presentation titled “Why the 6-month AI Pause is a Bad Idea”. If interested watch the YouTube video to get an idea on the response by Andrew Ng and Yann LeCun. I have read a few articles on contributions from both of them to AI. As a matter of fact a few years back I took one or more courses taught by Andrew Ng.
This response is based on a request by hundreds titled: Pause Giant AI Experiments: An Open Letter. Among the petitioners you find Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, and Yoshua Bengio, just to mention a few. As I am writing this post, the count of signatures is up to 17821 to 17931 in less than an hour.
In a nutshell the request is for further AI development to pause for at least six months in order to set the proper failsafe mechanisms that could prevent massive issues to humanity with their use. Pretty profound letter.
Before I give my opinion on the subject of this post, I would like to take you back to about 20 years ago. I flew with my family to Indianapolis, rented a car, and drove to a town that was about a 1-hour drive from the airport.
During the drive surrounded by cornfields, the subject of Globalization came up. At the time the subject was welcomed by most people but it had a major flaw. If countries send their manufacturing outside in hopes to replace it with others that require more education, it could turn into a situation in which the country or countries that manufacture goods will become richer and the outsourcers would become poorer and incapable of producing most goods.
Communism has never worked well. China updated their rules twice and things did not improve. At some point they saw the opportunity to make more money than any other country by manufacturing most of the goods used by the world.
Today, China has one of the best economies in the world. It was not achieved by democracy. They realized that Globalization was their ticket out of poverty. They convinced companies in the U.S.A to send their manufacturing to China.
One of the examples was Walmart. If you wanted to sell a product in their sores, they would help you get it produced in China. The benefits were shared by Walmart and the company outsourcing manufacturing abroad. The problem was that the ones who benefited were Walmart, the outsourcing company and of course China.
I can continue with other examples, but today China is still cataloged as an underdeveloped country with more income than most developed countries. China has their agenda and based on just developments this year, they are not going to stop before they become the most powerful and rich country in the world. The problem is in how they are getting there. I assume you are an individual with average intelligence capable of figuring things out by yourself.
Getting back to 2023, the current capabilities of AI are able to replace most school teachers in our country. This month around the 15th we need to pay taxes. You can use software or send your data to accountants. AI is able to generate your taxes with all the legal exemptions that you could claim. I will take it a little closer to home. Much of the work that is done by software developers can be outsourced to AI. If you do not believe me, take a few minutes on YouTube. You should be able to find several posts on how to generate websites in a very short time (minutes to hours).
Just with the three examples I have presented, millions of people would lose their jobs in the near future. If you would like to learn more about this topic and others related to AI, I would recommend Superintelligence Paths, Dangers and Strategies by Nick Bostrom (my comments on this post). If you are more interested in the technical aspects The Alignment Problem – How Can Artificial Intelligence Learn Human Values? by Brian Christian (my comments on this post) might also be of interest to you.
Finally, what the petition might boil down to is the impact that AI may have on the lives of billions of humans in the world. To me that is the most important takeaway from the letter. Coming to think about it, the petition does not emphasize on such an important subject, which may cause unrest, revolutions and the third world war.
Thanks for your time,