Another Warning Letter from A.I. Researchers and Executives

“A group of industry leaders warned on Tuesday that the artificial intelligence technology they were building might one day pose an existential threat to humanity and should be considered a societal risk on a par with pandemics and nuclear wars.” —the Times.

Dear Fellow-Humans,

We write this letter as humbly as a collection of overeducated and overcompensated executives can, in the hope that you will hear our cries and do something about A.I. before it’s too late. Humanity is in grave danger of becoming extinct, and we—the world’s most prominent A.I. researchers and executives who got us into this mess—are (wait for it) writing a letter. That’s right. We are writing this very letter in order to: 1) show you how serious we are about writing letters, and 2) demonstrate how capable we are in our letter-writing skills. Also, this letter serves as a warning that the human race will definitely be wiped out because of the humanlike A.I. systems that the undersigned are responsible for developing and releasing into the world. But, again, rather than do anything about this existential threat to human life, we wrote a letter. (This one.)

In writing this letter, we acknowledge that there are many other actions we might have taken. We could have banded together to create a global regulatory agency that would set guidelines and standards and monitor the development of A.I. systems possessing human-competitive intelligence. We could have paused A.I. development indefinitely, or at least until we were more certain of its risks and rewards. Instead, we are writing this letter because that somehow feels like the best use of our time and talents and because creating a regulatory agency and slowing the development of A.I. sounds boooooring.

We understand that you may perceive the tiniest hint of hypocrisy in a letter warning against the threat of A.I. written by the very people who created that threat. But we honestly didn’t know that this would happen. How could we? After all, we laid off our ethicists, so how could we possibly be blamed for something we absolutely did and could a hundred per cent foresee? We certainly should not be blamed for the plethora of doomsday scenarios we have hastened, including ones in which uncontrollable A.I.s seize and proceed to manipulate the world’s financial, weapons, and communications systems. We are, after all, doing everything we possibly can by writing this letter.

In closing, we strongly believe that mitigating the risk of extinction via A.I. should be a global priority, and we are committed to doing everything in our letter-writing power to write a strongly worded letter. Truly, all you have to do is ask, and we will drop everything to have an intern write and/or e-sign a letter. We are at a pivotal moment in the development of A.I. What began as a fun way to generate beautiful images and engage in entertaining conversations with hallucinating chatbots has ballooned in potential in mere months, resulting in a technology so powerful that we are now terrified of the impact it could have. So, while we continue down a capitalist path of throwing endless resources at the development of these humanlike systems at breakneck speeds, basically guaranteeing our own demise, we are also taking a moment to write, sign, and publish this very important letter that will hopefully absolve us of any responsibility for our own actions, while simultaneously allowing us to say, “It’s the government’s fault,” “I told you so,” and “¯_(ツ)_/¯.”


the A.I. researchers who created this A.I. mess ♦

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