OpenAI CEO Sam Altman Discusses AI’s Future and Society’s Concerns at Davos Forum

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DAVOS, Switzerland – OpenAI CEO Sam Altman provided valuable insights into the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential impact on human society during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum. Moderated by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, the conversation explored the challenges posed by the development of artificial general intelligence (AGI) and the delicate balance between human and machine decision-making.

Altman acknowledged the difficulty in pinpointing what makes humans excel compared to AGI, citing forgiveness as a crucial aspect of human nature. While humans tend to forgive each other’s mistakes, the same leniency is not extended to errors made by machines. Altman used the example of autonomous driving, emphasizing society’s acceptance of mistakes made by human taxi drivers compared to a lower tolerance for errors by self-driving cars.

The panel delved into the human ability to understand and cater to the interests of others. Altman suggested that humans possess an innate understanding of human interests, while Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, speculated that AI could soon take on the role of moderators, anticipating and responding to audience needs without human intervention.

Addressing the ongoing debate about AI’s role in decision-making, Altman asserted that humans would continue to play a crucial role despite advancements in AI. He emphasized the distinct nature of general-purpose cognition and expressed confidence that humanity would retain the authority to shape the future.

Both Altman and Benioff acknowledged the growing concerns associated with AI progressing towards AGI. Altman predicted heightened stress and tension in society as AGI development advanced, drawing on his experience during a brief period when he was temporarily ousted from control of OpenAI. He described the intense emotions and stress associated with responsibly navigating the path to powerful AI.

In a joint statement, Altman and Benioff underscored the importance of responsible AI development. Altman emphasized, “We just want to make sure that people don’t get hurt. We don’t want something to go really wrong. We don’t want to have a Hiroshima moment.” The sentiment echoed the collective commitment of AI creators to navigate the future cautiously and responsibly, mitigating potential risks for the benefit of society at large.

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