From The Wall Street Journal:
The best lesson for artificial intelligence may be Thursday’s “rapid unscheduled disassembly” of SpaceX’s Starship rocket, aborted four minutes after launch. With ChatGPT prompting speculation about mankind’s destruction, you should know that techies have obsessed seemingly forever over what’s known as the Paper Clip Theory—the idea that if you told an artificial-intelligence system to maximize the production of paper clips, it would fill the whole world with paper clips. Another version of the theory, Strawberry Fields Forever, has AI using every piece of available dirt to grow strawberries. Scary, right? So are “Halloween” movies.
Not to be outdone, decision theorist (huh?) Eliezer Yudkowsky recently wrote in Time magazine that the “most likely result of building a superhumanly smart AI” is that “literally everyone on Earth will die.” Literally everyone! That’s ludicrous, as is most clickbait these days. Sam Altman, CEO of ChatGPT creator OpenAI, told podcaster Lex Fridman, “There is some chance of that.” C’mon now.
Apparently, Pandora’s box has opened and is spewing its evils, which ignores all the good uses of large language models that will transform software coding, the workplace, education and more. Sadly, our geniuses in government appear to be the remaining few who still read Time magazine. So bring on the regulators to shut the box heroically.
Earlier this month, the Commerce Department initiated the process of regulating artificial intelligence, with Assistant Secretary Alan Davidson suggesting, “We know that we need to put some guardrails in place to make sure that they are being used responsibly.” Bad idea. Guardrails are for children bowling at birthday parties. AI is in its infancy, and we don’t yet know how it will change industries and society. Don’t freeze it now.
If the U.S. regulates AI, research will just move somewhere that doesn’t regulate it, maybe the Bahamas, where the unkempt coders of the future could keep cranking away. Or worse, China. Google CEO Sundar Pichai told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that he wants global AI regulation. Elon Musk and a group of AI experts wrote an open letter calling for an immediate six-month pause of “giant AI experiments.” Isn’t it interesting that those who need to catch up are pushing for a pause?
We don’t need onerous new regulations. There are already laws on the books for false advertising, copyright infringement and human endangerment. Do we really need bureaucrats who still use machines programmed in outdated Cobol to create regulations for a nascent technology they don’t understand? But to assuage worries, I would recommend one tiny rule for AI development: Include a kill switch.
Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal