Elon Musk to ChatGPT: Please Stop

5 Apr 2023

Here's a fun little fact that the world at large probably doesn't know (or care?) about. You know OpenAI, the company that's been at the center of attention lately for creating ChatGPT? Elon Musk is its co-founder. Granted, at the time of Musk's investment, OpenAI was a non-profit, but with so much attention from big wigs like Microsoft and the world at large, the company has obviously had to rethink its approach.

For Musk fans, the billionaire's investment in OpenAI is just another example of his brilliance and ability to look far ahead into the future. For everyone else, it's just blatant hypocrisy because Musk is now changing tack โ€” at least in the immediate term.

In an open letter published by the Future of Life Institute last week, Musk joined a group of artificial intelligence experts and industry executives calling for an immediate pause of at least 6 months in the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4. The letter wasn't aimed just at OpenAI, which launched GPT-4 and baked it into ChatGPT, but to "all AI labs" that are currently in a mad dash to one-up each other. This includes Google's Bard, which, lol, nobody cares about, Meta's LLaMA, and those being created by the friendly folks in China. ๐Ÿซฃ

Among the signatories are Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and famous author Yuval Noah Harari who argue that advanced AI models like ChatGPT could "represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth", but are simply not being developed responsibly. "Recent months have seen AI labs locked in an out-of-control race to develop and deploy ever more powerful digital minds that no one โ€“ not even their creators โ€“ can understand, predict, or reliably control," the letter said.

Instead, what creators should be doing is spending some time to reflect on where AI technology is headed and how to prevent it from negatively harming our civilization. "AI labs and independent experts should use this pause to jointly develop and implement a set of shared safety protocols for advanced AI design and development that are rigorously audited and overseen by independent outside experts," the letter said.

In other words: regulation. Which is ironic, given Musk's largely antagonistic view of regulation and his company Tesla's run-ins with policymakers in the past. And not to mention, the hurdles Musk's Neuralink is going through to test those darned brain chips in humans โ€” again, due to regulators.

The timing of the letter also coincides with earlier comments made by Musk to Tesla investors. "AI stresses me out," he said, presumably because "there's no point in any of us working" if they started helping Tesla build cars. This coming from the guy whose company is developing an actual fricking robotic humanoid called the Tesla Bot to do tasks "humans don't want to do." ๐Ÿคฏ

Oh but the irony runs even deeper. Musk stepped down from the OpenAI board in 2018; at the time, it was reported he was doing so to avoid any potential conflict of interest with Tesla, which uses AI technology in its supposed self-driving technology. However, a new reportclaims that Musk stepped down after his offer to run the company was refused. Which would explain why he's been so salty about the company's success lately.

Given that OpenAI is no longer the company Musk envisioned it to be, he's also been quietly recruiting people to form his own AI company that could rival ChatGPT and battle what he refers to as "Woke AI."

Now, whether Musk is trying to throw shade on OpenAI through the Future of Life Institute โ€” which is primarily funded by the Musk Foundation btw. โ€” is anyone's guess. However, some experts do agree on the overall contents of the letter while others have criticized it for focusing on the wrong things and prioritizing imagined apocalyptic scenarios.

All in all, the letter caused a lot of buzz this week, with Musk's Twitter and Tesla ranking on the #6 and #51 spots on HackerNoon's Tech Company Rankings, respectively. Microsoft, which backs OpenAI, was trending on the #20 spot. Google ranked lower at the #60 spot.

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And that's a wrap! Don't forget to share this newsletter with your family and friends! See y'all next week. PEACE! โ˜ฎ๏ธ

โ€” Sheharyar Khan, Editor, Business Tech @ HackerNoon

Featured image generated using Stable Diffusion 2.1 using the following prompt: โ€œ

Elon Musk, Shouting, Holding Guns, Fighting Robots.โ€