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Tech leaders want a moratorium for AI development

Tech leaders warn artificial intelligence race is out of control

After a couple of months with tech leaders, including icon Bill Gates, praising artificial intelligence as the tool for the future, the backlash is here. More than 1 500 tech experts, among them Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and tech academics, issued a warning saying that the industry is locked in an out of control race to develop AI systems.

The signatories say human-competitive intelligence could pose an existential risk to humanity, and demand a six-month moratorium on research until better regulation could be put in place.

“Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable”, says the open letter from non-profit campaign group Future of Life Institute.

“OpenAI’s recent statement regarding artificial general intelligence, states that “At some point, it may be important to get independent review before starting to train future systems, and for the most advanced efforts to agree to limit the rate of growth of compute used for creating new models.” We agree. That point is now.”


Why the backlash is coming after all positive statements around AI for the future is not clear but the Future of Life open letter for sure is in line with surveys having shown that people worry about how artificial intelligence could affect our lives in a negative way.

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The significant ongoing layoffs of staff by big tech companies also include staff to monitor and moderate content on social media like Twitter. Generative AI can make summaries of information that look like a human has made the job, but the artificial intelligence is also vulnerable to disinformation and requires control not to be a distributor of false information. 

Microsoft and Google have both added generative intelligence tools and Open AI’s ChatGPT tool has been made available to the public which means that new AI tools are in the hands of the general internet user.

We’re only at the beginning of what artificial intelligence can accomplish. Whatever limitations it has today will be gone before we know it, Bill Gates wrote in a blog for the World Economic Forum joining other tech leaders describing AI as a next giant step in development. 

But Gates doesn’t trust market forces alone to make the best use of AI saying that governments and philanthropy are needed to control this.

“The development of AI is as fundamental as the creation of the microprocessor, the personal computer, the Internet, and the mobile phone. It will change the way people work, learn, travel, get health care, and communicate with each other. Entire industries will reorient around it. Businesses will distinguish themselves by how well they use it.”


“In addition to helping people be more productive—AI can reduce some of the world’s worst inequities”, Gates wrote. 

He also addressed scepticism and fears around AI saying  that “first, we should try to balance fears about the downsides of AI—which are understandable and valid—with its ability to improve people’s lives.” 

Read Also:  Bill Gates join tech leaders expressing trust in AI development

“To make the most of this remarkable new technology, we’ll need to both guard against the risks and spread the benefits to as many people as possible.”

Experts have earlier agreed that companies and government authorities will expand the role of AI in peoples’ daily lives in useful ways. But they are split about how much control humans will have over essential decision making with more AI in use. Some experts worry that these AI systems will diminish individuals’ ability to control their own choices, according to a recent survey among experts made by the Pew Research Center.

“There is general agreement that smart machines, bots and systems powered mostly by machine learning and artificial intelligence will quickly increase in speed and sophistication between now and 2035”, the Pew report says.

“Some analysts have concerns about how business, government and social systems are becoming more automated. They fear humans are losing the ability to exercise judgment and make decisions independent of these systems.”


“Others optimistically assert that throughout history humans have generally benefited from technological advances. They say that when problems arise, new regulations, norms and literacies help ameliorate the technology’s shortcomings. And they believe these harnessing forces will take hold, even as automated digital systems become more deeply woven into daily life.”

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New surveys also show that big tech companies still have quite a long way to go until they have convinced users about the advantages with more use of artificial intelligence. 

A Pew Research survey says only 15% are more excited than worried about increased use of AI in daily life. A Monmouth University survey shows only 9% believe computer scientists’ ability to develop AI would do more good than harm to society. 

60% have heard about generative AI chatbots that can write answers to questions and that look like they were written by a human, the Monmouth University survey shows. 

72% believe there will be a time when entire news articles will be written by artificial intelligence. 


The focus on generative artificial intelligence like chatGPT, predicted to have great, but controversial, impact on creation, includes discussions about ethics and safety when content is machine-created. In the years ahead, companies will face increased regulatory pressure around their AI models, predicts Michael Schmidt, Chief Technology Officer at US-based AI-cloud firm DataRobot, in an article published by World Economic Forum.

“Organizations that are prepared to take on uncertainty – from market conditions to geopolitical unrest and everything in between – will be the ones best suited to serve their customers, employees, and shareholders.”

“Regulatory changes are likely to include requirements around both explanations for individual predictions as well as detailed records and tracking of the history and lineage of how models were trained.”

Adoption of Artificial Intelligence has more than doubled since 2017, though the proportion of organizations using AI has plateaued between 50 and 60% for the past few years. A set of companies seeing the highest financial returns from AI continue to pull ahead of competitors, according to consultancy McKinsey’s Global Survey on AI.

“The results show these leaders making larger investments in AI, engaging in increasingly advanced practices known to enable scale and faster AI development, and showing signs of faring better in the tight market for AI talent.”

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The report says there is significant room to improve diversity on AI teams. “Consistent with other studies, diverse teams correlate with outstanding performance”, McKinsey says.

“The average share of employees on these teams at respondents’ organizations who identify as women is just 27%. The share is similar when looking at the average proportion of racial or ethnic minorities developing AI solutions: just 25%. What’s more, 29% of respondents say their organizations have no minority employees working on their AI solutions.”

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