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ChatGPT creator Sam Altman issues warning for the world

If the burgeoning artificial intelligence industry has a spokesman, then it is Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI and creator of ChatGPT. On Tuesday, Altman testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in what turned out to be a wide-ranging, big-picture conversation about the future of artificial intelligence.

The stunning speed with which artificial intelligence has advanced, in only a matter of months, has inspired Congress with a rare bipartisan zeal to keep Silicon Valley's innovations from outpacing Washington again.

For decades, policymakers had deferred to the promises coming out of Palo Alto and Mountain View. But as evidence has grown that reliance on digital technology comes with serious social, cultural and economic downsides, both parties have shown willingness — for different reasons — to regulate technology.

Integrating artificial intelligence into American society presents a major test for lawmakers to show the high technology sector that it cannot escape the scrutiny to which other industries have long been accustomed.

Testifying alongside Altman were IBM’s Christina Montgomery, chair of the company’s AI ethics board, and Gary Marcus, a critic of artificial intelligence who teaches at New York University.

In his opening remarks, which were partially generated by artificial intelligence, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., acknowledged Congress’s struggle to impose meaningful regulations on social media.

“Congress failed to meet the moment on social media,” he said. “Now we have an obligation to do it on AI before the threats and risks become real.”

After the 2016 election, many Democrats charged platforms like Twitter and Facebook with disseminating misinformation that they claimed helped Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton for the presidency. Republicans, meanwhile, accused those same platforms of suppressing right-leaning content or “shadow banning” conservatives.

Political grievances aside, it has become clear that social media is harmful to teens, facilitates the spread of bigoted views and leaves people more anxious and isolated. It may be too late to address those concerns when in the case of social media companies that have become mainstay of the corporate and cultural landscape. But there is still time, members of Congress agreed, to make sure that AI does not generate the same social ills.

IBM’s Montgomery acknowledged the obvious risks that artificial intelligence poses to workers in a variety of industries, including those whose jobs had previously been seen as safe from automation.

“Some jobs will transition away,” she said.

Altman, who has emerged as a kind of industry elder statesman and seemed eager to embrace that role on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, offered a different take.

“I think it’s important to understand and think about GPT4 as a tool, not a creature,” he said, referencing OpenAI’s latest generative AI model. Such models, he said, were “good at doing tasks, not jobs” and would therefore make work easier for people, without replacing them altogether.

Anticipating the senators’ regrets about having missed the chance to regulate social media, Altman presented artificial intelligence as an altogether different development, one likely to be far more transformative and beneficial than a feed of cat memes (or, for example, racist messages).

“This is not social media,” he said. “This is different.”

Altman and Montgomery agreed that regulation was required, but neither they nor lawmakers could say, at this relatively early stage in the policy conversation, what such regulation should look like.

“The era of AI cannot be another era of "Move fast and break things,'” Montgomery said, alluding to the outworn Silicon Valley mantra. “But we don’t have to slam the brakes on innovations, either.”

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by Anonymousreply 21September 16, 2023 5:52 AM

Last year, the White House released a proposed AI Bill of Rights aimed at targeting misinformation, discrimination and other forms of harm. Vice President Kamala Harris recently met with leaders in AI innovation, including Altman, at the White House.

But so far, no regulatory framework has emerged, despite the consensus that one is badly needed.

Marcus, the NYU professor, revealed himself as the panel’s lone AI skeptic, arguing that “humanity has taken a back seat” as corporations race to develop ever more sophisticated AI models with too little regard for the potential dangers.

Altman also acknowledged that those dangers could be significant. “I think if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong,” he said. It was a bracing admission from one of the technology’s most vociferous proponents — but also a welcome break from Silicon Valley’s possibly deceptive facade of optimism.

by Anonymousreply 1May 17, 2023 3:19 AM

I don't get why anyone wants this.

by Anonymousreply 2May 17, 2023 6:18 AM

R2 wouldn’t you like something that helps speed the thought process up? That’s what AI can help to do. While I get the apprehension I also think about the other side of the coin and how it can help move things along in many arenas.

by Anonymousreply 3May 17, 2023 6:25 AM

[quote]…wouldn’t you like something that helps speed the thought process up? That’s what AI can help to do. While I get the apprehension I also think about the other side of the coin and how it can help move things along in many arenas.

I don’t agree that speed and moving things along are always net positive. What’s the hurry and where are people racing to?

by Anonymousreply 4May 17, 2023 10:25 AM

They can't even do anything substantial about climate change and that's categorically bad for almost everyone.

AI has pros and cons so you can bet they'll be even less effective.

by Anonymousreply 5May 17, 2023 10:44 AM

R3 or direct thought processes in very specific ways.

by Anonymousreply 6May 17, 2023 2:04 PM

Nice time to warn us.

After the damage is done and you've made your money.

by Anonymousreply 7May 17, 2023 5:06 PM

Sam Altman is a self-hating gay who has gay orgies with Peter Thiel but rants against "woke" people

by Anonymousreply 8September 16, 2023 2:29 AM

Irrelevant, if true.

by Anonymousreply 9September 16, 2023 3:15 AM

R2it is not a question of whether we NEED this; the fact is that we already HAVE it -kinda’ like electricity, and space satellites, and TNT, and atomic power…

by Anonymousreply 10September 16, 2023 3:30 AM

Paraphrased: "Congress, please contain the Frankenstein monster I've innocently created before it destroys all of humankind! Also, please think of me as a good guy because even though I created a big part of this danger, I'm cooperating with you now by testifying at all your hearings!" 🤦🏻‍♂️

by Anonymousreply 11September 16, 2023 5:07 AM

Sam Altman is a elf-loathing gay Republican who has orgies with Peter Thiel. Pass it on.

by Anonymousreply 12September 16, 2023 5:08 AM

^ I meant self-loathing, although he probably loathes elves, too

by Anonymousreply 13September 16, 2023 5:09 AM

R12 / R13 Well if Sam Altman actually loathed elves, that would just be another validation that he's an asshole. Especially if he loathed the Keebler elves. They bake cookies that are fucking delicious.

by Anonymousreply 14September 16, 2023 5:14 AM

[quote] Sam Altman is a self-hating gay who has gay orgies with Peter Thiel but rants against "woke" people

But isn't he a Democrat? He supported Joe Biden in 2020. Kind of contradictory if that's the case.

Then again, that would make him right at home with many self-professed 'liberal" Democrats here at Datalounge who spend most of their time ranting about how Trans, Blacks, and Women are ruining America with "wokeism."

by Anonymousreply 15September 16, 2023 5:17 AM

^ He rants against "wokeness".....so not a real Dem

Plus, he is friends with Peter Thiel

by Anonymousreply 16September 16, 2023 5:23 AM

ChatGPT would make a better Prez than Orange Asshole.

by Anonymousreply 17September 16, 2023 5:26 AM

NOW a warning?

by Anonymousreply 18September 16, 2023 5:28 AM

So apparently he's a horrible person, except for when he's not. From a New Yorker profile:

[quote] When he (Altman) came out to his parents, at sixteen, his mother was astonished. She told me, “Sam had always struck me as just sort of unisexual and tech-y.” After a Christian group boycotted an assembly about sexuality at his prep school, John Burroughs, Altman addressed the whole community, announcing that he was gay and asking whether the school wanted to be a repressive place or one open to different ideas.

[quote] Madelyn Gray, Altman’s college counsellor, said, “What Sam did changed the school. It felt like someone had opened up a great big box full of all kinds of kids and let them out into the world.”

by Anonymousreply 19September 16, 2023 5:40 AM

^ No, he is a terrible person. One brief passage from an article doesn't change that.

And he sucked Peter Thiel's dick to get where he is

by Anonymousreply 20September 16, 2023 5:50 AM

I’m glad I’m closer to death every day. This world is a fucking mess.

by Anonymousreply 21September 16, 2023 5:52 AM
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