Tech companies sign letter to “Build AI for a Better Future” for all

March 4, 2024
letter AI

In an open letter titled “Build AI for a Better Future,” leaders from the tech world vow to use AI to improve human lives and solve global challenges. 

This document, signed by a list of 179 entities and growing, emphasizes AI’s potential to revolutionize daily life and work, drawing parallels to historical milestones like the printing press and the internet.

The letter articulates a vision that AI should serve as a catalyst for human progress, enhancing learning through AI tutors, bridging linguistic divides with translation tools, advancing healthcare via diagnostic aids, speeding up scientific research, and simplifying daily tasks with AI assistants. 

Signatories include investment company SV Angel (who created the letter) to OpenAI, Meta, Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce, among others.

The letter says, “We all have something to contribute to shaping AI’s future, from those using it to create and learn, to those developing new products and services on top of the technology, to those using AI to pursue new solutions to some of humanity’s biggest challenges, to those sharing their hopes and concerns for the impact of AI on their lives. AI is for all of us, and all of us have a role to play in building AI to improve people’s lives.”

“We, the undersigned, already are experiencing the benefits from AI, and are committed to building AI that will contribute to a better future for humanity – please join us!”

So, what about the reception?

It’s been frosty, to say the least. At just some 100 words, the letter doesn’t exactly make much of an attempt at disentangling the trajectory and impacts of AI. 

One critic points out the lack of explicit mention of AI safety, branding it as “PR junk.” Another labels the statement as “totally vacuous,” criticizing it for not addressing critical issues like AGI extinction risk, the disruption of livelihoods, or the threat of geopolitical arms races.

This joins many other cross-industry agreements, such as the MLCommons collaborating with Big Tech to define safety benchmarks, recent commitments to create unified watermarking, and the Frontier Model Forum.

And let’s not forget the co-signed seismic Center for AI Safety’s (CAIS) statement early in 2023, which compared AI risks to pandemics and nuclear war.

Tech companies also recently joined forces to tackle deep fake electioneering and made numerous agreements at key events like the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the UK AI Safety Summit. 

Generative AI is weathering a media storm

Generative AI has been facing significant scrutiny and controversy, particularly in relation to intellectual property, ethical use, and the potential for reinforcing big tech’s dominance. 

One of the major concerns revolves around the legal and ethical implications of using copyrighted content without permission to train AI models. 

Companies like Stability AI and OpenAI claim that “fair use” protects them, but this is a highly debated and untested theory in the era of generative AI. 

The difficulty of defining what constitutes “in the style of” an artist and the responsibilities of entities like the Large-scale Artificial Intelligence Open Network (LAION) in compiling training datasets have been highlighted as key issues​.

Further, tech companies’ rapid deployment of AI-powered products without fully addressing flaws, such as the perpetuation of harmful biases, copyright infringement, and security vulnerabilities, has been criticized. 

Open letters signal some level of awareness. But stunting actual risks will take a little less talk and a little more action.

Join The Future


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Sam Jeans

Sam is a science and technology writer who has worked in various AI startups. When he’s not writing, he can be found reading medical journals or digging through boxes of vinyl records.


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