🧪The Intersection of Bio and AI risk 🤖
Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of delivering a 5-minute presentation on a topic that has captivated the minds of academics, policymakers, and diplomats: the risks associated with two powerful technologies - biotechnology and artificial intelligence (AI). As I stood before the esteemed diplomats representing their nations at the United Nations in Geneva, I couldn't help but emphasize the urgency and significance of understanding these technologies' implications for our collective future.
Here are a few key takeaways from my speech that I'd like to share with you:
Takeaway #1: Biological risks, with their diverse origins, demand immediate attention. The landscape is evolving from the potential to develop engineered viruses designed for malicious purposes to unintended bio-leaks from inadequately monitored laboratories. Let's not forget the emergence of Do It Yourself Biology (DIY), where genetic engineering experiments can now be conducted by enthusiasts in their own homes.
Takeaway #2: The accelerated advancement of artificial intelligence is reshaping how we perceive intelligence. In just the past three months, we've witnessed the emergence of groundbreaking Natural Language Models (NLMs) like ChatGPT, BART and others. Many scientists argue that these NLMs are our first tangible steps towards achieving Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) - an AI system that rivals human intelligence. The implications of AGI are vast and far-reaching, demanding our careful consideration.
Now, let's ignite a conversation that delves deeper into the heart of these complex issues. I invite you to contemplate the following questions:
- What happens when we combine the risks of biotechnology with the potential of AI? Can we envision a scenario where synthetic biology intertwines with AI, potentially leading to the creation of new biological weapons?
- Who will claim ownership over AGI? Will it be a nation, a tech giant, or an entity entirely different? And in a world where AGI becomes a reality, what does victory mean for those who possess this powerful technology, and what fate awaits those who do not?
Imagine standing on the shore of a beach, gazing out at the immense power of an impending wave. As it gathers strength, you realize the importance of readiness and preparation. Just like that wave, AI possesses incredible potential, and if we are not adequately prepared, it may sweep us off our feet. To navigate this wave and harness its potential, I offer you the following recommendations:
- Learn or hire people who can help you think about how AI can potentiate any initiative or challenge you have. Using Foresight to develop some of this work may be helpful.
- Invest in building Science-Policy interfaces to co-create better policies. Please bring it to the next level and include the industry and civil society to develop an indeed systems thinking approach.
I encourage you to share your thoughts, insights, and experiences in the comments below. Let's shape a future where these technologies enhance well-being, promote global security, and foster equitable progress for all.