The EconomistThe Economist

How to worry wisely about artificial intelligence

20 Apr 2023 · 5 min read

Should you be worried about AI? The technology poses new risks, but also offers extraordinary opportunities, writes The Economist. "Balancing the two means treading carefully."

Curated by informed

“Should we automate away all the jobs, including the fulfilling ones? Should we develop non-human minds that might eventually outnumber, outsmart...and replace us? Should we risk loss of control of our civilisation?” These questions were asked last month in an open letter from the Future of Life Institute, an NGO. It called for a six-month “pause” in the creation of the most advanced forms of artificial intelligence (AI), and was signed by tech luminaries including Elon Musk. It is the most prominent example yet of how rapid progress in AI has sparked anxiety about the potential dangers of the technology.

In particular, new “large language models” (LLMs)—the sort that powers ChatGPT , a chatbot made by OpenAI, a startup—have surprised even their creators with their unexpected talents as they have been scaled up. Such “emergent” abilities include everything from solving logic puzzles and writing computer code to identifying films from plot summaries written in emoji.

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