Tech Leaders Call for Pause on AI Development while OpenAI Defends Safety
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was not one of the signatories of the letter, but he defended OpenAI’s safety practices and emphasized that the company has not started training GPT-5. 1,100 signatories, including Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, have called for a pause on developing more powerful AI systems. The open letter argues that AI systems are becoming human-competitive and must be assessed for potential risks. The pause should be public and verifiable, say the signatories. The letter also suggests that if said pause “cannot be enacted quickly, governments should step in and institute a moratorium.”
Signatories argue planning and management levels are insufficient. Unnamed AI labs are in an out-of-control race to develop and deploy more powerful digital minds that no one, not even their creators, can reliably control.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said that OpenAI has not started training GPT-5, and that the company prioritizes safety in development. They spent over six months doing safety tests on GPT-4 before its launch. Altman argues that OpenAI has been talking about these issues the loudest, with the most intensity, for the longest. Altman also spoke about his relationship with Musk, who was a co-founder of OpenAI but stepped away from the organization in 2018, citing conflicts of interest.
While some engineers from Meta and Google, Stability AI founder and CEO Emad Mostaque, and people not in tech have signed the letter, no one from OpenAI or Anthropic has signed it. Altman argued that “starting these [product releases] now [makes sense], where the stakes are still relatively low, rather than just put out what the whole industry will have in a few years with no time for society to update.”
Altman expressed empathy for Musk’s concerns about AI safety but criticized his behavior on Twitter. “I definitely grew up with Elon as a hero of mine. You know, despite him being a jerk on Twitter or whatever, I’m happy he exists in the world. But I wish he would do more to look at the hard work we’re doing to get this stuff right.”
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