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OpenAI CEO Sam Altman says Elon Musk-backed letter calling for AI pause wasn't 'optimal way to address it'

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman says that a letter signed by Twitter CEO Elon Musk and others in the technology community calling for a pause on “giant AI experiments” wasn’t the right way to address the issue.

Musk, Steve Wozniak, and other tech leaders signed the letter in March, which asked AI developers to “immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4.”

During a virtual appearance at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Thursday, Altman addressed the letter.

“There’s parts of the thrust that I really agree with,” Altman said, adding that his team spent more than six months after completing the training of ChatGPT 4 to study safety components before it was released. 

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OpenAI CEO Sam Altman

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman (Reuters/Lucy Nicholson, File)

“So that, I totally agree with,” Altman said, speaking to the safety component of the letter. “I think moving with caution and increasing rigor for safety issues is really important, the letter, I don’t think is the optimal way to address it.”

The letter was made by the Future of Life Institute and signed by over 1,000 people.

“Powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable,” the letter states, arguing that the pause should be used to develop safety protocols.

“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 states.

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Elon Musk

Elon Musk (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

People who signed the letter, however, said that AI development overall shouldn’t be paused, but called for “stepping back from the dangerous race to ever-larger unpredictable black-box models with emergent capabilities.”

In an interview with “Tucker Carlson Tonight” airing Monday night, Musk said that AI has the potential to be very destructive.

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OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaks during a keynote address announcing ChatGPT integration for Bing at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, on Feb. 7, 2023.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaks during a keynote address announcing ChatGPT integration for Bing at Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, on Feb. 7, 2023. (Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images)

“AI is more dangerous than, say, mismanaged aircraft design or production maintenance or bad car production,” Musk said. “In the sense that it has the potential — however small one may regard that probability, but it is non-trivial — it has the potential of civilization destruction.”

Fox News’ Chris Pandolfo contributed to this report.

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