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Musk, Bengio, and others are calling for a six-month break from AI research

Just over a thousand people, including researcher Joshua Bengio and billionaire Elon Musk, are appealing to all AI labs: Put your technologies more powerful than the GPT language engine on hold for the next six months. 4, it’s time to take back control of “these unpredictable black boxes.”

“AI research and development must be refocused to make powerful, modern systems more accurate, more secure, more transparent, and more loyal,” it reads. Posted message Wednesday mornings by the Future of Life Institute and supported by Mila Quebec. The Boston-based association has made it its mission since its inception in 2014 to reduce risks to humanity, more specifically those caused by new technologies.

“Current AI systems are as efficient as humans in certain jobs,” continues the letter posted alongside others specifically calling for an end to runaway nuclear armament. “You have to ask yourself: Should we let machines flood us with propaganda and lies? Should we automate all jobs? Should we produce non-human spirits that will eventually overtake us and replace us?”

The implied answer is no. So Future of Life is making a double call. Labs developing AI systems similar to or stronger than GPT-4, which was recently released by California lab OpenAI, are being asked to take a six-month break during which they can create a series of protocols and rules to make future developments more responsible. and transparent.

“summer of artificial intelligence”

Governments, for their part, are called upon to work on a governance system for AI. This could include “at a minimum” a regulatory authority capable of overseeing technology development, a mechanism for monitoring the use of the most powerful computing and big data storage systems, and a system for sourcing systems that would distinguish legitimate applications from counterfeit, audit and certification tools.

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The researchers who signed the letter believe that adequate public funding and research institutions that specialize exclusively in finding solutions to economic and political issues should be taken into account.

The letter concludes, “Humanity can have a prosperous future through artificial intelligence.” “We have succeeded in creating powerful AI systems, it is time to enjoy the “summer of artificial intelligence”, during which we will reap the benefits, create systems for the benefit of the many and give society a chance to adapt. »

Montreal scholar Joshua Bengio remains realistic: Publishing an open letter remains a step in the right direction, but it is a small step. “It will require more sustained efforts,” he said Wednesday afternoon at a news conference.

GPT-5 Suspended

The founder of the Mela Quebec Institute emphasized the importance of the artificial intelligence and data law contained in the Trudeau government’s Bill C-27. “It’s going in the right direction,” he said. “One of the things I love about this project is that it separates the principles laid out in the law and the regulations that will be quickly amended when problems arise.”

According to Bill C-27, an AI commissioner will be appointed and will have to coordinate its actions with other federal agencies and departments — like the CRTC, for example — to ensure that the law is respected.

“It is important because passing the law takes a long time and depends on the elected officials,” continues Yoshua Bengio. In the meantime, administrators can respond more quickly. »

Adaptation speed is critical given the speed at which technology is changing. The Future for Life Institute cites the GPT-4 language generation and understanding engine, developed by Californian company OpenAI, as an example as evidence that things are changing quickly. “It can pass the Turing test, which for decades determined the level of human intelligence,” says Joshua Bengio.

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Indeed, it appears that OpenAI could launch GPT-5, a new development of its technology, before the end of this year. The race to produce the smartest AI seems nowhere near stopping on its own…

Let’s see in the video