Tegmark vs. LeCun

Most of my recent engagement with AI thoughy has been with those calling for a pause and warning of the risks; the likes of Max Tegmark and Stuart Russell. The other evening Tegmark became embroilled in a small Twitter (X) spatt with Yaan LeCun – you can follow the whole thread below:

LeCun, amongst other titles and qualifications, is the Chief AI Scientist at Meta. Most of the safety narrative at present is around pausing and allowing governments to implement regulative frameworks. LeCun seems to argue persuasively not against regulation, but in favour of an Open Source and transparent approach to building LLMs to avoid power and control being centralised. He makes a powerful case:

Now about open source: your campaign is going to have the exact opposite effect of what you seek. In a future where AI systems are poised to constitute the repository of all human knowledge and culture, we *need* the platforms to be open source and freely available so that everyone can contribute to them.

Openness is the only way to make AI platforms reflect the entirety of human knowledge and culture. This requires that contributions to those platforms be crowd-sourced, a bit like Wikipedia. That won’t work unless the platforms are open.

The alternative, which will *inevitably* happen if open source AI is regulated out of existence, is that a small number of companies from the West Coast of the US and China will control AI platform and hence control people’s entire digital diet. What does that mean for democracy? What does that mean for cultural diversity? *THIS* is what keeps me up at night.

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