Bill Ackman warns pausing AI development will help the 'bad guys' after Elon Musk and others call for 6-month halt

Bill Ackman
Bill Ackman.Richard Drew/AP
  • Hedge fund boss Bill Ackman warned against a pause in developing artificial intelligence.

  • That would give America's adversaries more time to catch up, the Pershing Square CEO tweeted.

  • Earlier, Elon Musk and others called for a six-month halt on AI development.

There's no time to lose in the artificial intelligence race, according to billionaire investor Bill Ackman.

Apparently in response to an open letter that calls for a six-month break in AI development, the Pershing Square CEO tweeted that this would be detrimental to national security.

"Shutting down AI development for six months gives the bad guys six more months to catch up," he wrote. "Our enemies are working hard to develop their own OpenAI. It would have been a mistake to delay the Manhattan Project and let the Nazis catch up. I don't think we have a choice."

Meanwhile, the open letter seeking an AI pause has been gaining traction among tech and academic leaders, and has even been signed by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. The signees argue that AI has developed too rapidly, without building safeguards around it.

A potential halt would be for six months and stop any further developments beyond the newly released GPT-4, a much more powerful version of OpenAI's ChatGPT.

Ackman acknowledged concerns about artificial intelligence and followed up his initial tweet with another that linked to a YouTube podcast discussing the risks of AI.

"In a sane world, we would slow development until we could be assured that AI is aligned with humankind," he tweeted. "Sadly we can't trust what our enemies will do with AI if they get there first."

At the same time, investors remain excited about AI and have helped boost tech stocks, such as Nvidia, which produces key enabling chips. Shares are up more than 80% so far this year, boosting its market cap by $300 billion.

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