Why Bill Gates Thinks Pausing AI Development Is A Really Bad Idea

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Last week tech leaders, such as Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, signed an open letter asking for a pause on giant AI experiments for the next six months. This week, Bill Gates voiced his opinion on the matter, saying a pause will not "solve the challenges" ahead.

In an interview with Reuters, Microsoft's co-founder Bill Gates gave his first public thoughts on the debate the open letter brought about last week. The letter, posted on the Future of Life Institute website, warned of potential risks surrounding AI, and that its development is dangerously out of control. The letter was signed by more than 1,000 AI experts in a very short span of time.

"I don't think asking one particular group to pause solves the challenges," Gates remarked on Monday to Reuters. "Clearly there's huge benefits to these things... what we need to do is identify the tricky areas."

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Gates has a couple of areas of interest when it comes to AI technology. First, his former company, Microsoft, has made multi-billion-dollar investments in ChatGPT owner OpenAI. Second, the billionaire is also focused on his philanthropic endeavors through Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Gates stated in a recent blog titled "The Age of AI has begun" that he believes AI is "as revolutionary as mobile phones and the internet," and should be used to help reduce some of the world's worst inequities. Two of the more profound areas Gates sees AI helping to reduce inequity comes through education and climate change.

The tech billionaire said the details of any pause in the advancement of AI would be complicated to enforce.

"I don't really understand who they're saying could stop, and would every country in the world agree to stop, and why to stop," he argued. "But there are a lot of different opinions in this area."

While last week's open letter left Gates and others with more questions than answers, it did pose a few pertinent questions for the AI community to start asking itself. Questions such as, "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?"