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Bill Gates Rejects Musk’s Call For AI Pause

Anastasia Boushee
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Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has rejected a proposal from Tesla and Twitter CEO Elon Musk and other technologists, engineers, and AI ethicists arguing that there should be a six-month pause on the development of powerful Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Musk, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Stability AI founder and CEO Emad Mostaque and more than 1,100 other high-profile technologists and AI researchers signed an open letter last week calling for a pause in AI development for six months in order to implement better planning and management parameters.

In the letter, they argue that highly developed AI systems have the potential to pose serious risks to society and humanity — and call for a halt on AI research, along with government intervention if necessary.


Gates, a controversial figure who has long advocated for aspects of transhumanism, rejected the calls for caution — instead advocating for more focus on the opportunities and responsibilities that AI presents to society.

“I don’t think asking one particular group to pause [AI] solves the challenges,” Gates said in an interview with Reuters, adding: “Clearly there’s huge benefits to these things… what we need to do is identify the tricky areas.”

Gates went on to discuss the issue further in a blog post, claiming that AI will benefit industries such as education, healthcare and climate change — emphasizing that the technology should be used to “make sure that everyone—and not just people who are well-off—benefits from artificial intelligence.”

He also argued that pausing the development of AI would not solve the problems being discussed by critics, and instead claimed that the solution is to concentrate on advancing AI technology while creating regulations to ensure the advantages outweigh any potential downsides.


“This new technology can help people everywhere improve their lives,” Gates wrote in the blog post. “At the same time, the world needs to establish the rules of the road so that any downsides of artificial intelligence are far outweighed by its benefits, and so that everyone can enjoy those benefits no matter where they live or how much money they have. The Age of AI is filled with opportunities and responsibilities.”

However, this is a complete reversal from Gates’ previous comments about AI back in 2015. During an “ask me anything” question and answer session on Reddit, the tech billionaire expressed his concern about AI — and even said that he agreed with Musk when he made similar comments at the time.

“I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence,” Gates wrote. “First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well.”

“A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern,” he continued. “I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people are not concerned.”

The BBC News article referencing Gates’ previous comments also noted that Professor Stephen Hawking had expressed grave concerns about AI, quoting him as saying that machines with AI could “spell the end of the human race.”