New twist in the Open AI controversy. Several researchers at the tech company wrote a letter to the board warning of a powerful artificial intelligence discovery that they said could threaten humanity – and they sent it shortly before the company’s CEO, Sam Altman, was fired.
Two people familiar with the company and the OpenAI controversy have confirmed this to Reuters. In the letter, the workers conveyed their concerns about the way the Q* (pronounced Q star) project was being run, warning of commercialisation of the technology before the consequences were understood.
The controversial model would have achieved numerous breakthroughs in mathematical problem solving, on a level similar to what a primary school student could do. However, the company’s experts acknowledged that while it would be a milestone for scientific progress, there is a greater risk: humanity could be at risk.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 23, 2023
The group of “AI scientists”, as the sources described them, reportedly unified the “Code Gen” and “Math Gen” information generators to explore how to optimise existing AI models in order to improve their reasoning and eventually perform scientific work.
Autonomous systems, OpenAI explains, outperform humans in most economically valuable tasks. Therefore, it is believed that Q*, capable of conquering the ability to do mathematics, would acquire such reasoning capabilities that it would significantly resemble human intelligence.
The suspicions were not novel. Researchers had long debated the danger posed by highly intelligent machines and did not rule out that these intelligences might value the destruction of humanity as one of their next steps.
The letter reached OpenAI’s board of directors before the dismissal of Sam Altman, CEO of the company and ‘father’ of the notorious ChatGPT. The reasons given for his dismissal were alleged dissent between Altman’s views and the company’s security interests, according to US media outlet Bloomerang.
Unpacking the battle for the future of artificial intelligence: What does Sam Altman's return to OpenAI mean for tech, and why should you care?@PoppyHarlowCNN breaks it all down: pic.twitter.com/xYh3HQNvtz
— CNN This Morning (@CNNThisMorning) November 23, 2023
These suspicions were denied by Altman’s replacement CEO Emmett Shear, who said: “The board did not remove Sam because of any specific disagreement over security, their reasoning was completely different than that.”
A day after his dismissal, Altman was hired by Microsoft to lead an artificial intelligence team. However, more than 500 of the company’s 750 employees signed a letter calling for his return and threatening to resign if he did not return. This warning had such an impact that the entrepreneur returned to Open AI on Wednesday to resume the CEO position he previously held.
“Everything I have done over the past few days has been to hold this team and its mission together. When I decided to join Microsoft on Sunday afternoon, it was clear that this was the best path for me and the team. With the support of the new board, I look forward to returning to OpenAI and building on our strong partnership with Microsoft,” explained Altman after announcing his return to the company.
i loved my time at openai. it was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit. most of all i loved working with such talented people.
will have more to say about what’s next later.
— Sam Altman (@sama) November 17, 2023
All this controversy comes amid security warnings from other big tech entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk and Shear, the executive who was to replace Altman, and as the European Union moves towards its first-ever artificial intelligence regulation, which envisages the implementation of various restrictions.
The owner of X shared a letter written by alleged former employees that directly accused Altman and Brockman (president of OpenAI) of developing “a disturbing pattern of deception and manipulation”, driven by “their insatiable quest to achieve general artificial intelligence”.
Twitch co-founder and former CEO Emmett Shear, meanwhile, claimed that AI could pose an existential risk to humanity and that this reality would have been a trigger for the dismissal of ChatGPT’s founder.
-Thailand News (TN)