Elon Musk, Apple Co-Founder Call for AI Development Pause — Why 300 Million Jobs Are at Stake

Emirates Elon Musk, San Francisco, United States - 24 Jan 2023
Benjamin Fanjoy / AP / Shutterstock.com

SpaceX, Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and more than 1,800 signatories called in an open letter for a six-month pause on the training of AI systems “more powerful than GPT-4.” And now, Goldman Sachs analysts say this new tech could cause Americans 300 million jobs.

“This pause should be public and verifiable, and include all key actors. If such a pause cannot be enacted quickly, governments should step in and institute a moratorium,” signatories said in the letter.

Musk and Wozniak argue that AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity and “could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned for and managed with commensurate care and resources.”

“Unfortunately, this level of planning and management is not happening, even though 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 – not even their creators – can understand, predict, or reliably control,” they said in the letter. “Should we let machines flood our information channels with propaganda and untruth? Should we automate away all the jobs, including the fulfilling ones? Should we develop nonhuman minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart, obsolete and replace us? Should we risk loss of control of our civilization? Such decisions must not be delegated to unelected tech leaders.”

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Indeed, the automation of jobs is one crucial issue around  AI development, many experts say, and a new Goldman Sachs report found that globally, AI could expose the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs to automation.

Goldman Sachs analysts noted, for example, ChatGPT surpassed 1 million users in just five days, the fastest that any company has ever reached this benchmark.

“We estimate that one-fourth of current work tasks could be automated by AI in the U.S. with particularly high exposures in administrative (46%) and legal (44%) professions and low exposures in physically-intensive professions such as construction (6%) and maintenance (4%),” they wrote in the report.

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In addition, Goldman Sachs analysts noted that 18% of work globally could be automated by AI,  with larger effects in developed countries.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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