HomePOPULAROpenAI CEO Defends AI Safety Amid Rising Controversy

OpenAI CEO Defends AI Safety Amid Rising Controversy

Seattle, May 20, 2024 – OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has defended his company’s AI technology as safe for widespread use amidst growing concerns over potential risks and the adequacy of safeguards for ChatGPT-style AI systems. Speaking at a Microsoft event in Seattle, Altman addressed developers as a new controversy erupted over an OpenAI AI voice closely resembling actress Scarlett Johansson’s.

The controversy has added to the scrutiny Altman faces following the recent departure of the team responsible for mitigating long-term AI risks. Altman, who gained global prominence after OpenAI released ChatGPT in 2022, emphasized the significant efforts made to ensure the safety of their models.

“My biggest piece of advice is this is a special time and take advantage of it,” Altman told the audience of developers. “This is not the time to delay what you’re planning to do or wait for the next thing,” he added, underscoring the urgency to innovate using OpenAI’s technology.

OpenAI, a close partner of Microsoft, provides the foundational GPT-4 large language model for building AI tools. Microsoft has been actively promoting generative AI, releasing new products and encouraging users to embrace AI capabilities.

“We kind of take for granted” that GPT-4, while “far from perfect…is generally considered robust enough and safe enough for a wide variety of uses,” Altman said. He insisted that OpenAI had put in “a huge amount of work” to ensure the safety of its models, drawing a parallel to the safety expectations of medicines.

However, OpenAI’s commitment to safety has been questioned following the dissolution of its “superalignment” group, a team dedicated to addressing the long-term dangers of AI. Co-leader Jan Leike, upon announcing his departure, criticized OpenAI for prioritizing “shiny new products” over safety.

“Over the past few months, my team has been sailing against the wind,” Leike said in a series of posts on X (formerly Twitter). “These problems are quite hard to get right, and I am concerned we aren’t on a trajectory to get there.”

Adding to the controversy, Johansson publicly expressed outrage over a voice used by OpenAI’s ChatGPT that closely resembled her voice from the 2013 film “Her.” The voice, called “Sky,” was featured in the release of OpenAI’s more human-like GPT-4o model. In response, Altman apologized to Johansson but insisted the voice was not based on hers.

Despite these challenges, Altman remains optimistic about the future of AI, urging developers to continue innovating and leveraging OpenAI’s technology to create new products.

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