Artificial intelligence (AI) poses a “Danger of Extinction” comparable to that of pandemics or nuclear war, as warned this Tuesday in a letter by a group of more than 300 industry experts and researchers, including Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis; from Anthropic, Dario Amodei; and from OpenAI, Sam Altman, among others.

“Mitigate AI extinction risk should be a global priority along with other risks on a societal scale, such as pandemics and nuclear war,” says the statement in a paragraph published by the Center for AI Safety, a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco (USA).

Other signatories to the brief statement, of only 22 words, are Geoffrey Hinton – baptized as the “godfather” of AI and had part of his career at Google- and Youshua Bengio, two of the three AI researchers who won the 2018 Turing Award – popularly known as the Nobel Prize in Computer Science – for their work on AI.

Since the OpenAI chatbot ChatGPT was launched in November 2023 Concern has increased about the consequences that the success of this technology could entail, two of the biggest fears being the large-scale spread of misinformation and propaganda and the possible elimination of jobs of all kinds.

Exceed human brainpower

For his part, Hinton, in a recent interview with The New York Times on May 1, he went a step further, noting his concern that this technology surpasses the intellectual capacity of a human. “The idea that these things could actually become smarter than people, some people bought into it,” he explained in that interview. “But most people thought it was a long way off. I thought it was a long way away. I thought it was 30 to 50 years away or even more. Obviously, I don’t think that anymore,” Hinton explained then.

Altman, Hassabis and Amodei met with US President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris this month to discuss AI regulation. In addition, the CEO of OpenAI testified before the Senate and warned that the risks of this technology were serious enough to justify government intervention.

In March, more than a thousand businessmen and researchers from the technology sector -among them Elon Musk, who did not sign this Tuesday’s letter- requested in a letter from apocalyptic tone that AI systems “more powerful than GPT-4” -the latest model of OpenAI- be suspended for six months.