The Future of Life Institute initiated an open letter in which they call on all AI labs to immediately pause for at least 6 months the training of AI systems more powerful than GPT-4 [notice that OpenAI already trains GPT-5 for some time]. They state that powerful AI systems should be developed only once we are confident that their effects will be positive and their risks will be manageable.
The gained time should be used to develop safety protocols by AI experts to make the systems more accurate, safe, interpretable, transparent, robust, aligned, trustworthy, and loyal. In addition, they ask for the development of robust AI governance systems by policymakers and AI developers. They also demand well-resourced institutions for coping with the dramatic economic and political disruptions (especially to democracy) that AI will cause.
Notice that the letter is not against further AI development but just to slow down and give society a chance to adapt.
The letter was signed by several influential people, e.g. Elon Musk (CEO of SpaceX, Tesla & Twitter), Emad Mostaque (CEO of Stability AI), Yuval Noah Harari (Author), Max Tegmark (president of Future of Life Institute), Yoshua Bengio (Mila, Turing Prize winner), Stuart Russell (Berkeley).
However, it should be noticed that even more influential people in the AI scene have not (yet) signed this letter, none from OpenAI, Google/Deep Mind, or Meta.
This is not the first time the Future of Live Institute has taken action on AI development. In 2015, they presented an open letter signed by over 1000 robotics and AI researchers urging the United Nations to impose a ban on the development of weaponized AI.
The Future of Life Institute is a non-profit organization that aims to mitigate existential risks facing humanity, including those posed by AI.
Yann LeCun answered on Twitter with a nice fictitious anecdote to the request:
The year is 1440 and the Catholic Church has called for a 6 months moratorium on the use of the printing press and the movable type. Imagine what could happen if commoners get access to books! They could read the Bible for themselves and society would be destroyed.