“It is hard to see how you can prevent the bad actors from using it for bad things” -- but we must try
One thing we can do is to promote and adopt the authentication measures being developed by the Coalition for Content Provenance and Authenticity. https://c2pa.org/
The other obvious thing is to pass laws and regulations requiring clear labeling of synthetic communications and media and criminalizing the creation of deep fake clones of people without their permission.
We can do all of this NOW concurrently with establishing international institutions.
We can, of course, continue to work on methods for detecting deep fakes, but this is an arms race that probably cannot be won. This is all a consequence of passing the Turing Test, and I'm chagrined that I didn't see it coming.
I am grateful for your work and for all you share with us. I love reading your pieces.
A subgroup in our lab started reading Norbert Wiener's Human Use of Human Beings. Feels particularly timely in all of this.
I was just reading the Times piece when this popped into my Inbox. Should be able to aid the effort Gary, will reach out.
Good regulation, as good governance in general, needs to be built bottom-up rather than top-down. Calling for global regulation or governance that would ignore that fact will accomplish nothing of value.
In the end, LLMs are models spurting out probable words given the previous content and intent, rather than sentient entities. Those deploying them are also the first to regulate them, assuming that they are acting in good faith. The same for anything more advanced, like agents doing more advanced work.
Those who are not acting in good faith, truly bad actors, will also have to be handled at the lower levels. As for computer viruses or internet security threats, there will have to be specialized solutions to handle them.
This understanding of building bottom-up solutions is lacking in the current calls that call for some kind of global regulation, which can often be too far from the field to offer good solutions or understanding.
Thanks, Gary. But I have to say: most people already believe loads of things that aren't true.
Excellent article. The argument for regulating AI globally is stronger than ever. However, you speak of bad actors while assuming that the powers that be are good actors? What is this assumption based on? What makes one organized group more ethical than another? Isn't the propensity for unethical behavior shared by all humans? As it is, the public's trust in government has reached a record low.
What if some subversive group or even a single individual working in a garage cracks AGI and decides to use it against the powers that be? What then? Since everything is computerized and globally interconnected nowadays, I can easily imagine a scenario whereby an AGI-powered system infiltrates the computers of the powers that be to gather powerful or sensitive information. The AGI system can then use that information to surreptitiously sabotage key machines around the world, and eventually cause a catastrophic collapse of the world order. It scares me to think about it.
I cannot shake the feeling that AI is a form a stealing at a massive scale from creators. It's like stealing from every creator a fraction of a penny but all combined it's a massive operation. If the last 3+ years proved anything is that governments around the world cannot be trusted, corporations even more so. The only way would be for these companies to divulge their training sets, and allow creators to remove their creations from the training sets. How likely is that that is going to happen? In the software space, it is mind blowing that Microsoft used the software stored in their free github repositories to train their AI engine without paying back anything to the software creators. They sucked in their creative energy without giving them anything back. If I may use a metaphor, AI is like the dementors from the Harry Potter novels or the mutants from the Marvel universe that could borrow one's powers to use them against them. This is equivalent to a wealth transfer, and that wealth is the creativity which is an essential human attribute, and the time, the effort and the energy spent in the creation process. The training sets should have been opt out by default, not opt in. The fact that they disregarded the input of those that created content, what does it tell you? Imo, the only way is to fight back and relying on committees and corporations to self regulate is laughable. There are lawsuits against AI corporations by creators, but I am afraid that they won't win because their contribution in the big pot is so minuscule (see this article: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/infinite-scroll/is-ai-art-stealing-from-artists), that they cannot prove the AI productions contain elements of their creations. That's why AI is so diabolical.
Do you not agree we already live in a world of bad actors that spread disinformation without having full AI already? And do we also all agree AI has just entered our social discord framing and helping to define our opinions? Or has it been playing a roll for a few months, years or possibly decades already and we are just now being enlightened to the presence of this technology? There are many fundamental questions to be answered before we even begin harnessing it's abilities to benefit our society.
Your work is very interesting/important and I want to keep following your writing. I like supporting people's independent work, but I wish there were more flexible subscription tiers. I follow probably 10 to 15 writers here, and if I support all of them (which they deserve) it's over a hundred dollars a month (too much). I like the 'tipping' model that Post has set up to voluntarily pay something for reading a post. Could there be other levels (a dollar or two a month) or are the rates something set by Substack? I wonder if an increased number of paid subscribers at a lower rate might actually increase your revenue? Thanks! (Oh and A.I. is terrifying...)
Whether these things we created are intelligent or not, whether they are self-aware or not, whether they are aligned or not- all of these questions are beside the point. What we have done is create processes. Processes that can escape our control and act in unpredictable ways. Remember the "grey goo" nanobot scenario? No one worried about nanobot sentience or "intentions." It was the process that had the capability to bring down our civilization. So too with the algorithms teamed with databases. I may be unduly pessimistic but I believe they are already beyond our earnest attempts at control for the reason that we ourselves are beyond our own control. The box has been opened, the genie is out of the bottle. We have let slip the dogs of processes that now we won't be able to call back to our leashes.
We were stupid, but there is hope I think of while not eliminating the threat but at least significantly reducing damage
I am coming from perhaps an odd perspective to ask: are methods to "control Large Language Models (LLMs)" heading in the direction of machine consciousness, and ultimately is this a requirement? There are many other arguments for the "need for machine consciousness", unfortunately I've lost track of my work reports from ~10 years ago. (yes - I can lose electronic files as well as paper).
Thank you. Wonderful as always. Perhaps in your pursuits, a couple resources that could accelerate progress - (1) a framework for defining values, core concepts [of justice], principles, commitments, and measurement/reporting criteria published as guidance by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (https://www.mas.gov.sg/-/media/MAS-Media-Library/news/media-releases/2022/Veritas-Document-3B---FEAT-Ethics-and-Accountability-Principles-Assessment-Methodology.pdf); and (2) robust audit frameworks, as those established by https://forhumanity.center/.
Perhaps this will help?
We should be clear that making one's living as an expert in any field isn't a public service, it's a business. Experts have built their lives upon their business, just like anyone else. They have mortgages, kids in colleges, family who depend on them etc. So the primary goal of any expert is the same as it is for any of the rest of us, to protect their source of income.
What this means is that a expert in any intellectual field has to promote and protect their reputation. And what that means is that the expert can't publicly wander too far beyond the group consensus of their field. If they do that, they put their reputation, career, and family at risk. Thus, experts are typically not free to follow the trail of reason where ever it may lead. Their room to maneuver intellectually is typically restricted to the arena defined as reasonable by the group consensus of their peers.
The group consensus can be radically wrong, including the group consensus of experts.
Evidence: We mass produced nuclear weapons, and then largely ignored them. Experts all across the board are overwhelmingly complicit in such ignoring. In the AI realm, watch for yourself how the experts will talk about the future of AI in millions of words, and never once mention that nuclear weapons can erase the future of AI in the next 30 minutes. If a high school kid did this in an essay assignment, you'd give them a grade of D.
Having utterly failed to manage one existential threat, the experts are now busy creating another existential threat. They want you to forget about the past where they have failed, because in that direction there is cold hard proof of their failure. They want you to turn your attention instead to the future, where they can pacify you with vague governance schemes which don't hold up to 2 minutes of non-expert scrutiny.
The experts aren't bad people. In fact, they are defending the interests of their family, which should be their highest priority. Just know this, their interests are not the same as yours and mine.
Marcus writes, "At TED, and in companion op-ed that I co-wrote in the Economist, I urged for the formation of an International Agency for AI:"
Could you explain why you think we can create effective global governance of AI when we can't do that for nuclear weapons, a more urgent threat which is far easier to understand?
Marcus writes, "I was saying we need to slow down, and to focus on the kind of research that the pause letter emphasized, viz work on making sure that AI systems would be trustworthy and reliable."
How will AI be made trustworthy when many of the people who will develop and deploy AI can not be made trustworthy??
Marcus writes, "...the immediate development of a global, neutral, non-profit International Agency for ai (iaai), with guidance and buy-in from governments, large technology companies, non-profits, academia and society at large, aimed at collaboratively finding governance and technical solutions to promote safe, secure and peaceful ai technologies"
How in the world do you propose that we get all these powerful players to agree on anything meaningful and specific?
Metz said, "The best hope is for the world’s leading scientists to collaborate on ways of controlling the technology. “I don’t think they should scale this up more until they have understood whether they can control it"
In how many cases have the world's leading scientists agreed to limit how much science they do?
Marcus writes, "I have spent all my time since TED gathering a crew of interested collaborators, speaking to various leaders in government, business, and science, and inviting community input. Philanthropists, we need your help."
Pretty close to all such "experts" are trapped in the "more is better" relationship with knowledge philosophy left over from the 19th century. If you want help, here's some...
Bring these "experts" here. Watch how I'll pull the rug out from under their expert status, and watch how they vanish when confronted with inconvenient reasoning which threatens that status.
Artificial intelligence exists because human intelligence doesn't.
Hinton is starting to get this. Decades too late.
Interesting read, sound as well Gary. Another driving factor is going to be once the public at large begin using "true" AI. When they have the full ability, for example, diagnosing a health issue. Do we believe something as fundamental as cost could keep them from seeking actual medical attention due to cost, transportation and insurance? Will AI begin to be given the ability, with clearance by the FDA & CDC to write prescriptions for a fraction of the cost & convenience driven by big pharma? So, who would be defined as bad actors if it's a misdiagnosis leading to possible detrimental harm? FDA? CDC? Big Pharma? I use this one example as a glimpse of how far down the AI rabbit hole we could fall. And that's just one of millions we will forever be suspect and tension AI would bring to the table. Although given the stand off on our national debt, maybe we would benefit in two ways.
1.) The debt would be paid, like most of us have auto pay from our various accounts to help keep up with timely bill payments.
2.) It would take the silliness of politics off the table, when a pressing and obvious fundamental task of government, is no longer of use to either or any party making them act so childish and obsord. Putting our standing in both actual credit rating drops and dropping our self standing on the world stage. Goodness knows, in these unpredictable times, whether it's war, inflation, food shortages, global warming, etc. Apparently our representatives need a nanny of sorts to help project stability of some kind.