Renowned British scientist Professor Stuart Russell has expressed concern over the lack of control over powerful artificial intelligence (AI) systems, warning that they are already causing harm.
Along with over 1000 other experts, he recently signed an open letter calling for a six-month halt in the development of systems even more advanced than OpenAI’s newly-launched GPT-4, which is the successor to the popular online chatbot ChatGPT powered by GPT-3.5.
Professor Stuart Russell explained that the systems are not well-understood, and therefore cannot be effectively controlled or made to behave properly. According to him, there is growing apprehension among people about disinformation and the possible racial and gender biases that can be reflected in the outputs of such systems.
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He further stressed the need for adequate time to develop regulations to ensure that these systems are beneficial rather than harmful for people, considering the swift progression of AI. He added that disinformation and the creation of deep fakes, which involve digitally altering a person’s face or body to make them appear like someone else, were some of the major concerns in this regard.
He said GPT-4 has the ability to read an individual’s social media presence, including their entire history of online activity. It can manipulate their news feed to gradually decrease their support for certain issues. This could potentially affect millions of people in a short amount of time. The professor expressed concern about the negative impact of such manipulations, which may go unnoticed by those affected. There are already concerns that countries with large disinformation teams could use AI as a powerful tool. The professor stressed the importance of considering the limitations of current AI systems in building complex plans, and the potential dangers of more advanced systems in the future.
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