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The AI Race Is “Out of Control”: What to Know About the ‘Pause AI’ Letter from Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, and Others

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Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, and hundreds of other AI experts have called for a six-month pause on AI development.

In an open letter published by the nonprofit Future of Life Institute, Musk and others raised alarm over the profound risks that advanced AI poses to society and humanity.

The letter says AI labs are locked in an “out-of-control race” to develop and deploy systems that no one can understand, predict, or reliably control.

In it, the signatories call for a public—and verifiable—pause on AI development for at least six months, as well as the development of safety protocols for advanced AI design and development.

What does the letter mean for your usage of AI in your business and career?

I spoke with Marketing AI Institute founder/CEO Paul Roetzer on Episode 41 of the Marketing AI Show to answer that question.

  • Don’t expect a ban to actually happen. “It’s not going to happen,” says Roetzer. It’s not practical or possible to enact or enforce a ban like the one described in the letter. The letter partially reads like a PR stunt. However, that’s not all it is.
  • But don’t ignore the letter. Plenty of credible people signed the letter. Many people (Paul included) signed it while fully acknowledging they don’t agree with all of it. That’s because the letter raises issues we can no longer ignore.
  • AI is going to have a massive near-term impact we’re not ready for. Today, we’re not prepared for AI’s impact on misinformation, propaganda, especially headed into an election season in the United States. “The ability to tell what’s real and what’s not is almost gone,” says Roetzer.
  • That includes a big impact on employment. People aren’t talking enough about potential job loss caused by advanced AI. “I think there’s going to be a lot of pain,” says Roetzer. “AI is coming for knowledge work way faster than anybody is ready for.”
  • Long story short, we need to have the conversation now. All of these factors make it critical that we take the conversation about AI risks mainstream, and the letter helps do that. “What’s going to be essential is that we have a lot of really smart people thinking about these issues, thinking about the impact they have in their region, in their country, in their industry, and starting to figure out how to move forward,” says Roetzer.
  • Because it’s up to us to figure this out. UNESCO just urged governments to adopt its ethical AI framework. Italy just banned ChatGPT. AI is quickly becoming a political flashpoint. On one hand, that may bring sensible regulations and guardrails. On the other, it may also mean politicians with no understanding of the technology jump on the bandwagon of enacting unhelpful or destructive AI policies. The better companies and business leaders understand the issues at hand, the better they’ll be able to understand what’s sensible discourse and what’s not.

Don’t get left behind…

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