You Can’t Stop Progress, But…

This morning, I did something I rarely do: I signed an open letter alongside Elon Musk, Steve Wozniak, Yuval Noah Harari, and a group of AI experts and tech executives, urging top AI researchers to pause development of AI systems more advanced than GPT-4 for six months.

The letter begins:

AI systems with human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity, as shown by extensive research and acknowledged by top AI labs. As stated in the widely-endorsed Asilomar AI Principles, Advanced AI could represent a profound change in the history of life on Earth, and should be planned for and managed with commensurate care and resources. Unfortunately, this level of planning and management is not happening, even though recent months have seen AI labs locked in an out-of-control race to develop and deploy ever more powerful digital minds that no one – not even their creators – can understand, predict, or reliably control.

You can read the rest of the letter here. I hope you do.

I certainly don’t expect commercial companies (or academic researchers, for that matter) to pause their development and training of AI systems for 10 seconds, let alone six months. There’s a part of me that doesn’t want them to.

That said, the fears and plea for caution expressed in this open letter are genuine. No technology has ever excited me more – or caused me more pause – than AI. In truth, it scares the hell out of me. Frankly, if it doesn’t both excite and scare the hell out of you, you don’t know enough about it.

To that end, we offer Generative AI for Executives. It’s a practical “how to” course about using AI to improve productivity. Based on this letter, we added additional material to help you frame questions about how our lives may change as AI training improves.

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit


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