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Apocalypse Now? AI Visionaries Worry About “Risk of Extinction”

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Top AI leaders just released an explosive statement about the “risk of extinction” that AI poses to humanity.

The statement, released through the Center for AI Safety, reads as follows:

“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”

The statement was signed by top AI scientists like Geoff Hinton (formerly of Google fame) and Demis Hassabis, as well as notable technology leaders like OpenAI’s Sam Altman, Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque, and Bill Gates.

The statement is designed to be short. According to the Center for AI Safety:

“AI experts, journalists, policymakers, and the public are increasingly discussing a broad spectrum of important and urgent risks from AI. Even so, it can be difficult to voice concerns about some of advanced AI’s most severe risks.

The succinct statement below aims to overcome this obstacle and open up discussion. It is also meant to create common knowledge of the growing number of experts and public figures who also take some of advanced AI’s most severe risks seriously.”

The statement immediately got massive attention and further ignited debate in the AI community about existential threats from AI.

In Episode 50 of the Marketing AI Show, I spoke to Marketing AI Institute founder and CEO Paul Roetzer to unpack why the statement matters.

Here’s what you need to know…

  1. It’s important to pay attention to this. “There's certainly a lot of entrepreneurs and AI researchers that signed this, that I have huge respect for and that we follow,” says Roetzer. That makes it worth keeping an eye on.
  2. But the existential fears are still ill-defined. Unlike the other examples (pandemic, nuclear war), there’s still very little clarity about exactly how AI could progress to a point of extinction-level threat. Many critics don’t even believe it’s possible.
  3. However, more and more industry leaders are expressing fears. “The most interesting part to me is probably that a bunch of major AI research companies and labs seem to be unified in these concerns,” says Roetzer. “Many of them appear to be willing to collaborate on solutions.”
  4. Even so, it’s not time to freak out. “It’s not hit the panic button time in my opinion,” says Roetzer. But it is worth keeping in mind that these fears exist—and they’re being expressed by very intelligent and important people in the AI world. “So it’s noteworthy, for better or for worse, at the moment.”

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After taking Piloting AI for Marketers, you’ll:

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