Report warns of existential threats from artificial intelligence (AI) and urges swift action.

A report commissioned by the U.S. government and exclusively published by The Times on Monday raised alarms about the potential existential threats posed by artificial intelligence (AI), urging decisive action to mitigate national security risks.

The report emphasizes the need for swift measures to address the significant risks associated with AI development, warning that unchecked advancements could lead to a scenario akin to an “extinction-level threat to the human species.”

Identifying two primary risk categories, the report outlines concerns regarding the “weaponization risk,” which involves the potential for AI systems to be exploited for designing and executing severe attacks, including biological, chemical, or cyber assaults, as well as enabling new weaponized functionalities in swarm robotics.

The second category, termed “loss of control” risk, focuses on the fear that advanced AI systems could surpass human oversight, potentially exhibiting adversarial behavior towards humans.

Highlighting the role of “race dynamics” within the AI sector, the report underscores the intense competition driving rapid development, often prioritizing economic gains over safety considerations.

To address these concerns, the report suggests regulatory measures, including the establishment of a new AI agency to oversee computing power regulations and mandating government approval for deploying new AI models exceeding specified thresholds.

Moreover, potential policy actions could include restrictions on the publication of operational details of powerful AI models and regulating the spread of high-end computer chips crucial for AI advancements.

The report’s authors conducted extensive research over a year, engaging with over 200 individuals, including government officials and experts from leading AI companies such as OpenAI, Google DeepMind, Anthropic, and Meta. Insights gleaned from these discussions underscored troubling observations, revealing concerns among AI safety professionals regarding potential negative motivations influencing decision-making within advanced laboratories.

In light of these findings, the report underscores the urgent need for proactive measures to navigate the evolving landscape of AI development and safeguard against potential existential threats to humanity.