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The Irony in Musk’s AI Distrust

As a leader in AI, why is Musk advocating a pause on its development?

Elon Musk joined a petition to “pause” AI research, citing concern over its potential harms and overreach. This is interesting, since Musk originally funded OpenAI, which is now at the forefront of cutting-edge AI systems like ChatGPT. In addition, Musk’s ventures with self-driving cars and his confidence in neural technology all cast him as a leader in the AI revolution. So why is he calling for a hiatus?

According to a recent Slate article, the warnings against Large Language Models (LLMs) are a distraction from the more dangerous AI inventions like the self-driving car. Musk uses sci-fi alarmism to exacerbate the fear of a machine takeover, while his own experiments in automation have also proved to be dangerous for human users. Edward Niedermeyer writes,

If Autopilot and FSD beta haven’t killed hundreds or thousands of people yet, it’s largely because enough people still recognize that these are incredibly janky and unreliable systems that inadvertently remind you, every couple of miles, not to trust them with your life. The real risk remains ahead of us, in a future where these systems eventually become good enough to go a few hundred miles between errors, lulling us deeper into overtrust and complacency before making an unpredictable mistake.

It’s this prosaic danger, not the sudden emergence of an artificial superconsciousness we struggle to even theorize about, that presents the most immediate A.I. risk. At the point that we’ve allowed inadequate A.I. systems to engage in the most dangerous thing we do every day—to contribute to the deaths of multiple people—this shouldn’t be controversial. 

-EDWARD NIEDERMEYER, Why Elon Musk joined a call to stop A.I. development. (slate.com)

Niedermeyer calls for the critique of AI to extend to automated vehicles, where the danger also lies. ChatGPT hype fits into our narrative of a dystopian world where AI rules us, but there are more pressing concerns that demand our attention now, too.

Read yesterday’s report on the petition to stop AI development: Elon Musk to AI Labs: Press Pause | Mind Matters

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The Irony in Musk’s AI Distrust