Six months on from the “pause” letter
Nicely, that didn’t occur, clearly.
I sat down with MIT professor Max Tegmark, the founder and president of FLI, to take inventory of what has occurred since. Listed below are highlights of our dialog.
On shifting the Overton window on AI danger: Tegmark advised me that in conversations with AI researchers and tech CEOs, it had change into clear that there was an enormous quantity of hysteria in regards to the existential risk AI poses, however no one felt they might talk about it brazenly “for worry of being ridiculed as Luddite scaremongerers.” “The important thing aim of the letter was to mainstream the dialog, to maneuver the Overton window so that individuals felt protected expressing these considerations,” he says. “Six months later, it’s clear that part was a success.”
However that’s about it: “What’s not nice is that each one the businesses are nonetheless going full steam forward and we nonetheless don’t have any significant regulation in America. It seems like US policymakers, for all their speak, aren’t going to cross any legal guidelines this yr that meaningfully rein in probably the most harmful stuff.”
Why the federal government ought to step in: Tegmark is lobbying for an FDA-style company that may implement guidelines round AI, and for the federal government to power tech firms to pause AI improvement. “It’s additionally clear that [AI leaders like Sam Altman, Demis Hassabis, and Dario Amodei] are very involved themselves. However all of them know they’ll’t pause alone,” Tegmark says. Pausing alone can be “a catastrophe for his or her firm, proper?” he provides. “They simply get outcompeted, after which that CEO shall be changed with somebody who doesn’t wish to pause. The one means the pause comes about is that if the governments of the world step in and put in place security requirements that power everybody to pause.”
So how about Elon … ? Musk signed the letter calling for a pause, solely to arrange a brand new AI firm referred to as X.AI to construct AI programs that may “perceive the true nature of the universe.” (Musk is an advisor to the FLI.) “Clearly, he desires a pause similar to a whole lot of different AI leaders. However so long as there isn’t one, he feels he has to additionally keep within the sport.”
Why he thinks tech CEOs have the goodness of humanity of their hearts: “What makes me assume that they actually desire a good future with AI, not a foul one? I’ve identified them for a few years. I speak with them repeatedly. And I can inform even in personal conversations—I can sense it.”
Response to critics who say specializing in existential danger distracts from present harms: “It’s essential that those that care so much about present issues and those that care about imminent upcoming harms work collectively relatively than infighting. I’ve zero criticism of people that give attention to present harms. I believe it’s nice that they’re doing it. I care about these issues very a lot. If individuals have interaction in this sort of infighting, it’s simply serving to Huge Tech divide and conquer all those that wish to actually rein in Huge Tech.”