Global leaders should be working to reduce "the risk of extinction" from artificial intelligence technology, a group of industry chiefs and experts warned on Tuesday.
A one-line statement signed by dozens of specialists, including Sam Altman whose firm OpenAI created the ChatGPT bot, said tackling the risks from AI should be "a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war".
ChatGPT burst into the spotlight late last year, demonstrating an ability to generate essays, poems and conversations from the briefest of prompts -- and sparking billions of dollars of investment into the field.
But critics and insiders have raised the alarm over everything from biased algorithms to the possibility of massive job losses as AI-powered automation seeps into daily life.
The latest statement, housed on the website of US-based non-profit Center for AI Safety, gave no detail of the potential existential threat posed by AI.
But several of the signatories, including Geoffrey Hinton, who created some of the technology underlying AI systems and is known as the father of the industry, have made similar warnings in the past.
Their biggest worry has been the idea of so-called artificial general intelligence (AGI) -- a loosely defined concept for a moment when machines become capable of performing wide-ranging functions and can develop their own programming.
The fear is that humans would no longer have control, which experts have warned could have disastrous consequences for the species.
Dozens of academics and specialists from companies including Google and Microsoft signed the latest letter, which comes two months after billionaire Elon Musk and others called for a pause in the development of such technology until it could be shown to be safe.