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In a candid conversation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said that the dramatic events around his firing and quick reinstatement were less nerve-wracking than the looming challenges of developing superintelligent AI.
“As the world gets closer to AGI, the stakes, the stress, the level of tension — that’s all going to go up,” the ChatGPT-maker’s chief executive officer and co-founder said during a panel discussion on Thursday in Davos.
This year’s Davos summit has prominently featured discussions on AI, with business leaders discussing the optimal use of the technology amidst substantial investment. Concerns around AI risks, like the impact on democracy during a bumper election year, were also discussed. The rapid growth in the field and the race between companies to achieve a hypothetical future artificial general intelligence, or AGI, has led several policymakers to call for regulation. This will help them to reduce potential risks associated with the development of superintelligent AI.
Altman’s temporary removal by the board in November was “a microcosm of it, but probably not the most stressful experience we ever face,” he said, speaking on a panel about technology in a turbulent world. Altman also noted that the episode underscored the importance of addressing issues promptly, especially the “not-urgent problem.”
“We had known that our board had gotten too small and that we needed more experience, but last year was such a wild year for us in so many ways that we sort of just neglected it,” Altman said, expressing the need for proactive management in the rapidly evolving tech landscape.
Overall, Altman’s insights shed light on the complex landscape that OpenAI and other organizations navigate as they strive to balance innovation and responsible AI development.