AI experts warn of ‘extinction’ of human race in new petition

Some of the leading experts in artificial intelligence have signed a statement warning that their technology could potentially lead to humanity’s downfall.

The statement, published Tuesday, said: “Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”

The message came from the Center for AI Safety, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization, which posted the petition on its website.

Almost 400 people signed, including Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, as well as top AI creators from Google and Microsoft and around 200 professors from universities across the globe.

It’s the most recent call for alarm in a series of statements from AI experts. However, it’s also led to increased pushback from some who argue the hypothetical threats are hyperbolic.

Meredith Whittaker, who serves as chief adviser to the AI Now Institute, a nonprofit devoted to ethical AI strategy, mocked the petition as a covert promotional tactic.

Clément Delangue, co-founder and CEO of the AI company “Hugging Face,” also shared a tweet condemning the concern. He changed the statement to read “AGI,” instead of “AI.”

AGI is an abbreviation for “artificial general intelligence,” a theoretical extension of AI that is more capable than humans.

Two months ago, tech pioneers including Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and IBM chief scientist Grady Booch published their own statement, calling for a “pause” on major AI development.

So far, the pause has not occurred, and although the White House has shared some plans to address concerns, there’s been no indication that the government will bring concrete regulations to the industry.

“Literal extinction is just one possible risk, not yet well-understood, and there are many other risks from AI that also deserve attention,” said Gary Marcus, a leading AI critic and a professor at NYU.