Some tech titans have co authored a letter “Pause Giant AI Experiments: An Open Letter” urging that all AI development past GPT-4 be halted for six months because
“…recent months have seen AI labs locked in an out-of-control race to develop and deploy ever more powerful digital minds that no one – not even their creators – can understand, predict, or reliably control.”Pause Giant AI Experiments: An Open Letter
Who has signed this letter so far? Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Andrew Yang, many professors, AI Experts, and students. As of the writing of this blog post, the letter has 1377 signatures.
The Open Letter makes some great points which I personally agree with:
- AI presents a profound change in the history on earth
- AI Labs are not equipped to deal with the responsibility of this AI development
- We should not let machines flood information channels with propaganda and untruth (of course, us humans have been pretty good at that without help from bots.)
- We should consider which jobs should be automated and which should remain under human control (Ahem, content moderation, something social media receives a resounding F on lately.)
- We should not risk loss of control of our civilization (But then again, who can really claim control as we indiscriminately launch satellites into a largely unregulated space above the earth and provide Internet access to every corner, some of which may or may not want to be on the grid.)
- We should have independent review and agreements to limit growth as we develop the guidelines under which AI is required to operate — worldwide. (If it isn't worldwide, what's the point of even trying?)
This is where I start just calling a bit of a “woah, hold on…”
“… we call on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4.”Pause Giant AI Experiments: An Open Letter
While the letter calls for the pause to be public and verifiable, let's just look at this for a moment and back up.
What should we consider as we discuss this?
Do we have ethical, wise people to help manage this process? Personally, I believe in the ancient wisdom of how a person can live with a “devouring fire” such as AI could be. A person whose:
- Life is right.
- Speech is straight.
- Who scorns getting rich by extortion.
- Who shakes his hand free of bribes.
- Who stops his ears against talk of bloodshed.
- Who shuts his eyes against looking at evil.
- List from Isaiah 33:14-15
Whether you agree or not with the book I quoted, perhaps we can all agree that people who live well, speak truthfully, don't extort money, don't receive bribes, who stand against bloodshed and refuse to look at evil would be some people we could trust with this process?
Many signers of this petition have a financial interest in pausing GPT-4 development
Steve Wozniak owns about $15 million of Apple shares as of last year. Apple is working to play catch up to GPT-4 so it can overhaul Siri. Adoption of this moratorium would give Apple an opportunity since their AI has not surpassed GPT-4. So, he has a self interest in calling a stop.
Craig Peters, Getty Images – Getty Images is already suing the creators of AI art tool, Stable Division for scraping its content. There is a great point that we should be able to CHOOSE whether our content TRAINS AI. Yet, this person has a vested financial interest in calling a stop (perhaps so they can develop their own AI in this race-to-control AI?)
That's just two of them…
Certainly many scientists and experts are on this list who have more noble reasons for signing the letter but there are some notable people who are absent — people whose tech is perhaps ahead of the tech representatives signing this letter that seems to be attempting to cause a viral outcry of people like you and me – the average everyday people who can help something “go viral.”
Most of us average everyday people out here — like me — have so little control or words we can say about this process, but I'd like to add a few thoughts here.
I have a right to my identity, originality, personality.
The old proverb says “A good name is better to be had than great riches.” Just because I agree to have my website scraped does not mean that I consent to have it crawled as training data for an AI tool!
These tools are being trained so they can “Respond like Johnny Depp” or “Write like Ernest Hemingway.”
Isn't my yours or my own identity, originality, and personality something worth protecting? Can Elvis be resurrected or Marilyn Monroe by anyone with the tech knowhow to take their image?
I know that yours and my intellectual property should be respected – but often it is not has not been.
But now, if I put enough of myself out there — does that mean someone has the right to use my podcast to train an AI and then allow my voice to say anything they want it to? Endorse anything they want? I've had something happen similarly in real life that I won't go into here when someone with a similar voice to mine was reading advertisements on top of old podcast episodes. It infuriated me because I was concerned listeners wouldn't know the difference. I wasn't paid a dime or consulted about that endorsement. It needed to stop and I was so grateful that it did.
I agree the best time to work through these issues is before we cannot take it back. I also think that:
Every tech tool should have a “kill switch” – this includes social media.
I should be able to hit a button and opt out of the algorithms designed to manipulate my opinions. Algorithms that re designed to addict me and promote advertising. If social media wants to charge me for it, so be it. I should have the right to see everyone I follow in chronological or reverse chronological order and opt out of both data collection and algorithmic bias.
Every tech tool should protect the young.
The unfettered access to pornography by our children is killing them.
Pornographic content can harm children. Exposure to pornography at a young age may lead to poor mental health, sexism and objectification, sexual violence, and other negative outcomes. Among other risks, when children view pornography that portrays abusive and misogynistic acts, they may come to view such behaviour as normal and acceptable.UNICEF “Harmful Content Online“
Do we not see that unbridled access to social media is also killing their mental health. We are algorithmically engineering the demise of a generation and no one is standing up and holding tech giants accountable.
So, now we're going to let this group of people shown to exhibit behavior more protective of their self interests than our children determine the future of the human race?
I didn't see Apple building any child protection into their devices all these years and now suddenly Steve Wozniak cares about the future of the human race? I'm not saying he doesn't care, but I am saying that we needed to act on algorithms far before now
Just because you're rich doesn't make you wise.
Just because you're smart doesn't make you wise either.
And who am I to say these things? I'm just a teacher. But I have always believed the ethical conversations we've had in my classrooms and on stages and at conferences over the past 21 years of my career matter very deeply and this is my blog and I can write what i want to.
Who Will Arise?
I am totally convinced that Congress may have the power to regulate, it does not have the intellectual nor moral fiber to regulate.
Furthermore, while Silicon Valley may have the intellectual ability to understand, many of the tech titans have shown themselves greatly lacking in morality as seen by the addictive algorithms unleashed on social media which are harming our children.
As an individual human, it is becoming more important to be wise and ethical and honest than ever before. Our kids think nothing of looking at chat gpt as a get out of schoolwork free robot not understanding that if they cannot learn – ai most certainly is.
Adults think of looking at chat gpt as evil when there are great applications to make our jobs easier.
Tech sees dollar signs – either growing or going- I can guarantee that.
AI may be learning exponentially but right now, we as human beings, are definitely not.
And that, my friends, is a problem worth the brainpower of a million average everyday people like you and me. People who care deeply about the next generation and are fed up with the algorithmic control that big tech has upon our lives.
As I've said before, I'm finding great use for AI. I'm not against AI.
However, I'm not for having more of the same behavior we've seen from big tech over the past twenty years.
And this question, my friend, “How will we move forward with honest, ethical, helpful AI?” may be the greatest technology question we ask in this generation that impacts the world for generations to come.
I'm running off to school. I intentionally didn't use AI in this post — not even Grammarly. I may have a typo. I may have a split infinitive. I may even – gasp – get a comma in a wrong place. But I most assuredly wrote this my own human self and I”m perfectly ok with sharing my musings with you this morning before I drive off to school and talk to seniors about their future in a world where we're just floating along letting technology algorithms take us where we may without giving pause to ask the questions that really matter.
Never miss an episode
Get the 10-minute Teacher Show delivered to your inbox.