Amid concerns about artificial intelligence gaining human-like cognitive abilities, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on Wednesday sought to reassure that the generative AI major was looking to build a tool and not a creature.
“Let’s have a system in place so that we can audit people who are doing it (developing AI-based solutions), licence it, and have safety tests before deployment. I think it is an important idea and we are pleasantly surprised about the enthusiasm there is around the world,” Altman said. He was speaking at The Economic Times Conversations, with journalists and industry leaders.
He is likely to meet top government officials, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday.
Speaking at the event, Altman, on questions about whether OpenAI’s stand on strict regulations was aimed at a regulatory capture of the technology to put down any competitor that may emerge in the future, stressed smaller companies should not be regulated. He further said India could take the lead in conversations around global regulation for AI, as it hosts the G20 summit later this year.
Altman appeared positive about India’s potential as a major AI market. “It's super impressive to see what India has done on making technology a national asset,” he said, adding that OpenAI will be focused on training its AI models around the nation’s cultural and linguistic diversity. “We want the entire world to be represented within our AI systems.”
Altman said his company was delighted to see the adoption of and enthusiasm for ChatGPT in India.
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On the potential impact of AI-generated misinformation and deep fake videos, the OpenAI CEO said society will “rise to the occasion” quickly with techniques like watermarking detectors and cryptographic signing to prove authenticity. He expressed concerns about possible persuasive personification systems built with AI.
“There is a lot of fear right now about the impact this is going to have on elections and our society and how we trust the media that we see... But there is a related thing that is relatively getting discussed less, which is customised, one-on-one interactive persuasion and I think people are going to be able to create that are very good at it,” Altman said.
He also appeared receptive to the idea of AI posing a risk to human linguistic, cultural, and geopolitical systems. He said: “We need to build systems in a way to address that risk and it's going to be a very complicated geopolitical challenge."
Asked what impact generative AI solutions will have on jobs, especially in a market like India, Altman said: “Every tech revolution leads to job change. This is no exception. Some jobs will go away but there will be newer, better jobs. Maybe the problem is, we don't have nearly enough people to do the jobs that we want to do.”
Speaking on AI’s impact on human creativity, he stressed that “human creativity, the fulfilment from work, that's not going anywhere. Just that the expectations may go up.”
On the future of OpenAI and ChatGPT, he said there’s a lot of work to do before GPT 5. “There needs to be more safety audits. What I lose the most sleep over is the hypothetical idea that we already have done something really bad by launching ChatGPT. That maybe there was something hard and complicated in there (the system) that we didn't understand and have already kicked it off."
Altman pointed out that the curve in AI is going to be much steeper. “Systems in the near future will be dramatically different. None of the current systems matters. We are on an exponential curve, really,” he said. “Chat GPT 3.5 is like the old grey-scale Nokia phone and the ‘iPhone 14’ of AI will be coming soon,” he added.