The “alignment problem” is a major threat posed by powerful artificial intelligence (AI) systems that may no longer be aligned with the best interests of humans. Experts fear this problem may never have a solution, making government research funding essential. The Manhattan Project serves as a successful precedent for this as it was one of the most ambitious technological undertakings of the 20th century, and it was critical to national security. Likewise, a government research project on the scale it deserves will be necessary to avoid unimaginable destruction and catastrophe. Policymakers must stop taking a backseat role and act swiftly and nimbly. A Manhattan Project for AI safety should coordinate the leadership of top AI companies like OpenAI, Anthropic, and Google DeepMind to share safety protocols and develop government-owned data centers managed under the highest security. The project should compel companies to collaborate and require models that pose safety risks to be heavily tested in secure facilities. Finally, providing public testbeds for academic researchers and a cloud platform for training advanced AI models for use within the government is necessary. A Manhattan Project for AI safety would require public investment, high levels of public-private coordination, and a leader with the same top-down leadership style as the project’s infamous overseer, General Leslie Groves.
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