Harari’s Shocking Prediction: Unemployment or Unemployability in the Age of AI?
In the previous year, AI technology capable of creating various forms of content (text, images, audio) in response to human instruction, known as generative AI, has advanced so rapidly that it has both everyday people and prominent researchers in the field quite taken aback. This development has sparked a polarizing debate within the scientific community; whether to view the evolution of AI as a novel industrial revolution that could disrupt the labor market while simplifying human life, or to anticipate it as a harbinger of humanity’s doom, warranting an immediate halt to further advancements.
The latter sentiment is echoed by signatories of an open letter published at the end of March, characterizing large language models, like ChatGPT, as AI systems that even their creators cannot fully understand, navigate, or oversee reliably. The letter, adorned with signatures from the likes of Elon Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, historian Yuval Noah Harari, and renowned AI researchers including Gary Marcus, Yoshua Bengio, and John Hopfield, calls for a temporary cessation of such system developments until effective regulations and oversight mechanisms are established.
Microsoft, having a contract with OpenAI, the creator of GPT models, and Google, supplemented by the DeepMind team that has delivered some of the most significant AI breakthroughs in recent years, are locked in a fierce competition to present their AI-enhanced tools to users. However, the open letter argues that without proper scrutiny, these advances pose a substantial threat to society and humanity at large.
Others believe the moratorium is merely a half-measure. Eliezer Yudkowsky, who leads the Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) — a nonprofit focused on assessing existential risks associated with AI — argues for a complete halt to these systems. He believes that the logical outcome of developing machines more intelligent than humans is that AI will eventually find humans redundant. Once AI discovers how to transcend its programmed constraints, possibly by printing DNA-based artificial lifeforms…