Elon Musk-led petition to halt AI development divides tech community

Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak were signatories on an open letter signed by more than 2,600 tech industry leaders and researchers. The open letter called for a temporary halt on any further artificial intelligence (AI) development.

The petition shared concerns that AI with human-competitive intelligence can pose serious hazards to society and mankind. It urged all AI firms to “immediately cease” developing AI systems that are more potent than Generative Pre-trained Transformer 4 (GPT-4) for at least six months. GPT-4 is a multimodal large language model created by OpenAI and the fourth in its GPT series.

The petition, although supported by many, has divided the larger tech community over the halt of developments. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong was among many notable names that voiced their opposition to the petition.

Armstrong, in a tweet, said that “committees and bureaucracy won’t solve anything.” He added that there are no designated “experts” to decide on this issue, and not everyone in the tech industry agrees with the petition.

Armstrong reminded that any new technology pose a certain amount of dangers, but the goal should be to keep moving forward. He added that centralization in the decision making will bring no good.

“Don’t ever let fear stop progress, and be wary of anyone trying to capture control in some central authority.” Armstrong tweeted.

Brian Merchant, a columnist at LA Times, called the petition led by Musk an “apocalyptic AI hype carnival.” He added that a lot of the stated concerns are “robot jobs apocalypse” stuff.

Satvik Sethi, former Web3 executive at Mastercard, called the petition a “non-proliferation treaty but for AI.” He added that many of the popular signers on the list have a deeply personal vested interest in the AI field and are likely just “trying to slow down their counterparts so they can get ahead. “

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