Government advisor Mark Warner warns of potential AI ban

AI Council and CEO of 'Faculty AI' Marc Warner urges potential AGI ban: Safety, transparency and responsible decision-making critical.

A member of the government's AI Council and CEO of Faculty AI, Marc Warner, has expressed the need to consider banning highly advanced artificial general intelligence (AGI) systems.

Warner emphasised the importance of strong transparency, audit requirements and enhanced safety technology for AGI. He believes that the next six months to a year will require prudent decision-making regarding AGI.

Warner's comments align with recent statements from the European Union and the United States, calling for a voluntary code of practice for AI.

The AI Council, an independent committee of experts providing advice on AI, supports Warner's position.

Warner joined the Center for AI Safety in warning about the potential risks of technology leading to humanity's extinction.

In a meeting at Downing Street, Faculty AI, alongside other technology companies, discussed the necessary regulations, opportunities, and rules to ensure safe and responsible AI with Technology Minister Chloe Smith.

Setting the parameters of AI

Warner distinguishes between "narrow AI," which performs specific tasks, and AGI, which possesses broader capabilities across various domains.

He asserts that AGI systems are more concerning and require different regulations due to their potential to surpass human intelligence.

To achieve this, Warner suggests that limiting the computational power utilised by AGI algorithms could be a reasonable approach. He also believes that governments, rather than technology companies, should ultimately make decisions on banning algorithms based on complexity or computational capacity.

Orienting AI safety issues

Critics argue that concerns about AGI distract from existing AI problems, such as bias in recruitment and facial recognition tools. However, Warner asserts that safety measures are necessary for both AGI and existing technologies, drawing a parallel with the need for safety in both cars and aeroplanes.

While excessive regulation may raise concerns about hindering innovation and deterring investors, Warner believes the UK could gain a competitive advantage by prioritising safety. He states that safety is crucial for deriving value from AI technology, just as functioning engines are essential for aeroplane travel.

The recent UK White Paper on AI regulation, ‘A pro-innovation approach to AI regulation‘, faced criticism for not establishing a dedicated watchdog.

Nevertheless, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak emphasised the necessity for "guardrails" and highlighted the potential leadership role of the UK in this area.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager also expressed the urgency of voluntary rules.

The EU Artificial Intelligence Act, which aims to regulate AI, is currently undergoing legislative processes, but its full implementation may take two to three years due to the rapidly evolving technological landscape.

To accelerate the process, industry stakeholders and others will be invited to contribute to a draft voluntary code of conduct within weeks. Blinken emphasised the importance of establishing voluntary codes open to a wide range of like minded countries during the recent US-EU Trader and Technology Council meeting.

The need for collective effort

The ongoing discussions surrounding the regulation and potential banning of highly advanced artificial general intelligence (AGI) systems reflect the critical implications they hold for humanity at large.

Warner's warnings and the support he receives from the AI Council underline the need for careful consideration of AGI's transparency, auditability, and safety features.

AGI systems possess the ability to outperform human intelligence across various domains, raising concerns about their potential impact on society. If left unchecked, AGI's exponential growth and capability to operate autonomously could pose risks that are difficult to foresee.

These risks include potential unintended consequences, loss of control, and even the potential for AGI to surpass human decision-making capabilities, leading to ethical, social and economic implications, and even human extinction.

By recognising the need for strong regulations and safety measures, governments can mitigate the potential risks associated with AGI. Balancing innovation with safety becomes crucial to harness the benefits of AGI while minimising the threats.

Striking this balance ensures that AGI technologies are developed responsibly and ethically, safeguarding against biassed outcomes, data privacy breaches, and other harmful consequences.

Regulation for survival

The establishment of a robust regulatory framework for AGI aligns with the long-term interests of humanity.

Governments should proactively collaborate with industry experts, policymakers and researchers to ensure that AGI technologies are harnessed for the collective benefit of society.

This collaboration can foster transparency, accountability, and public trust in AGI systems, thereby shaping their trajectory in a manner that aligns with human values and goals.

Ultimately, the decisions made today regarding the regulation and governance of AGI will significantly impact future generations.

By approaching AGI with caution and foresight, we have the opportunity to shape a future where advanced artificial intelligence serves as a powerful tool for human progress, rather than a potential threat.

The collective efforts of governments, organisations, and individuals will be crucial in navigating this transformative technological landscape and ensuring a positive and inclusive future for humanity.

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