Elon Musk and others call for a six-month AI pause, citing ‘risks to society.’

Carol van Zyl
Mar 30, 2023
Updated • Mar 30, 2023
Apps, Twitter

It’s official - Elon Musk, industry executives, and a group of AI experts urge for a six-month pause to develop more robust systems than OpenAI’s latest released GPT-4 in an open letter stating the potential risks to society.


As many of us know, Microsoft-backed OpenAI launched the fourth interaction of its GPT earlier this month. The latest Generative Pre-trained Transformer AI program has users in awe by impressing them with the human-like conversation, summarising lengthy documents, and composing songs.

The Future of Life Institute letter read, "Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable." 

According to the European Union's transparency register, the non-profit that’s mainly funded by the Musk Foundation, the London-based group Founders Pledge, and Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Earlier this month, Elon Musk said, "AI stresses me out." Musk has expressed frustration about the autopilot system and the regulator's efforts. He has, however, sourced a regulatory authority to ensure that AI development serves the public interest.

James Grimmelmann, professor of digital and information law at Cornell University, responded, "It is … deeply hypocritical for Elon Musk to sign on, given how hard Tesla has fought against accountability for the defective AI in its self-driving cars." 

"A pause is a good idea, but the letter is vague and doesn't take the regulatory problems seriously."

Last month, Telsa recalled more than 362,000 US vehicles due to software updates. US regulators claimed the driver-assistance system could cause crashes. But to no one's surprise, Musk jumped on Twitter and tweeted that the word "recall" for an over-the-air software update is "anachronistic and just flat wrong!"

There was no immediate response from OpenAI concerning comment requests on the open letter. The letter has called for a pause until developed shared safety protocols by independent experts and urged developers to work with policymakers on governance before they continue with advanced AI development.

The letter asked, "Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda and untruth? … Should we develop non-human minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us?" - stating "such decisions must not be delegated to unelected tech leaders."

Although Musk signed the letter and more than 1,000 others, Sam Altman, OpenAI chief executive, was not among those who signed, nor were top executives of Microsoft and Alphabet Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai.

Co-signatories included researchers at Alphabet-owned DeepMind, Stability AI chief executive Emad Mostaque, Stuart Russell, a pioneer of research in the field, and AI heavyweights Yoshua Bengio, often referred to as one of the "godfathers of AI."

Europol (EU police force) has already warned about the potential misuse of disinformation, cybercrime, and phishing attempts. At the same time, the UK government has disclosed proposals around AI for an “adaptable” regulatory framework. Concerns behind it are due to ChatGPT’s attracted attention from US lawmakers’ questioning its impact on education and national security.


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  1. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments (https://www.ghacks.net/chatgpt-gets-schooled-by-princeton-university/#comments). Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If ghacks.net intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this Friend.tech as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/08/23/what-is-friend-tech/] and it appears there but as well here at [https://www.ghacks.net/2023/07/08/how-to-follow-everyone-on-threads/]

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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