By Supantha Mukherjee
STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Top artificial intelligence executives, including OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, joined experts and professors on Tuesday to raise the “risk of AI extinction”, which they have urged policy makers to assimilate to the risks posed by pandemics and nuclear war.
“Mitigate the risk of AI extinction should be a global priority alongside other society-wide risks such as pandemics and nuclear war,” wrote more than 350 signatories in a letter published by the Center for AI Safety (CAIS).
Besides Altman, they included the CEOs of AI companies DeepMind and Anthropic, as well as executives from Microsoft and Google.
They also included Geoffrey Hinton and Yoshua Bengio – two of the three so-called “godfathers of AI” who received the 2018 Turing Award for their work on deep learning – and professors from institutions ranging from Harvard to China’s Tsinghua University.
A statement from CAIS singled out Meta, where third AI sponsor Yann LeCun works, for not signing the letter.
The letter coincided with the US-EU Trade and Technology Council meeting in Sweden, where politicians are expected to talk about AI regulation.
Elon Musk and a group of artificial intelligence experts and industry executives were the first to cite potential risks to the company in April.
Recent developments in AI have created tools that proponents say can be used in applications ranging from medical diagnosis to writing legal briefs, but it has raised concerns that the technology could lead to violations of life. privacy, disinformation campaigns about power and problems with “intelligent machines” thinking for themselves.
AI pioneer Hinton earlier told Reuters that AI could pose a “more urgent” threat to humanity than climate change.
Last week, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman called EU AI — early efforts to create regulation for AI — overregulation and threatened to leave Europe. He reversed his position days after criticism from politicians.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will meet with Altman on Thursday.
(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; additional reporting by Foo Yun Chee in Brussels and Martin Coulter in London; Editing by Jan Harvey)