Reid Hoffman Warns Against Unchecked A.I. Advances Amid ‘Broader State of War’ on Internet

The LinkedIn cofounder and investor delves into the complex intersection of technology, truth and geopolitics.

Reid Hoffman
LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman is an avid investor in A.I. companies. Kimberly White/Getty Images for WIRED

At the Bloomberg Tech Summit in San Francisco yesterday (May 9), LinkedIn co-founder and venture capitalist Reid Hoffman delved into the complex intersection of technology, truth, geopolitics and what the future has in store in the face of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence. Hoffman was ushered onto stage following a pre-recorded interview between Bloomberg Tech anchor Emily Chang and “Reid AI,” an A.I.-generated digital twin of himself, showcasing the technology’s potential to both awe and unsettle. The video concluded with Reid’s A.I. doppelganger answering Chang’s question, “Why do you think Reid built you?” responding in perfect pig Latin after Chang prompted it to do so. 

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“I’ve literally had friends of mine go, ‘Oh, my God, I’m so creeped out,’” the real Hoffman said onstage. “Although part of that was to say, this is part of the future and part of what we can be doing and how we should navigate by introducing—by showing, not just telling—in various ways.”

Following the somewhat unsettling introduction, Hoffman stressed the importance of navigating technological advancements responsibly, advocating for collective investment in preserving truth through methods like watermarking and digital certificates. Hoffman painted a stark picture regarding cybersecurity concerns, depicting the internet as a battleground. He cautioned against the unchecked proliferation of A.I., particularly in the hands of malicious actors, stressing the need for careful navigation in the realm of open source technologies.

Read Also: LinkedIn Cofounder Reid Hoffman Launches a ChatGPT Rival

“One of the things I think is under-accommodated is the cybersecurity realm of the internet, and is actually in a much broader state of war than Ukraine or Gaza,” he said, noting cyber attacks that have been launched against hospitals and other institutions around the globe. 

“For example, if you asked what aspects are currently most challenging around A.I., it’s a combination of deepfakes with electoral interference, and cybercrime,” he continued. “Those are the two things that are most currently the type of the issues we have to be navigating.”

Hoffman acknowledged global concerns and the competition between the U.S. and China in A.I. development while advocating for collaboration alongside healthy competition. He emphasized the importance of ensuring A.I. benefits all global citizens, citing discussions with Pope Francis on equitable access to A.I. advancements while noting the potential pitfalls of the technology. He estimated that the U.S. is roughly two years ahead of China in the development of A.I. but warned that that gap could be closed in “a blink of an eye.” 

“One of the reasons why you have to be careful about how you’re navigating open source, because once it’s open source, it’s there for everyone,” he explained. “It’s there for the North Koreans, it’s there for the Russians, it’s there for the criminals.” 

While Hoffman expressed concerns regarding the upcoming election and the possible manipulation of truth by way of deepfakes to distort reality, he remained optimistic about the push toward providing safeguards around the technology while embracing the potential  benefits. 

“There are important risks to navigate, but the reason why it’s important to navigate them is because there is an absolutely amazing human future that is easy to drive to,” Hoffman said. 

Reid Hoffman Warns Against Unchecked A.I. Advances Amid ‘Broader State of War’ on Internet