Sam Altman's possibly brief dismissal from OpenAI has exposed a schism between the company's top leaders over how to curb the existential threat posed by AI.
While Altman has spoken about the dangers of "potentially scary" AI and the "critical" need to regulate it, OpenAI's former CEO has been chiefly a poster child for rapid AI innovation. Altman was known to aggressively position OpenAI to stay ahead of the pack in the AI arms race, chasing large amounts of funding and rapid development.
In September, Altman tried to win $1 billion in funding from Softbank for a hardware device to run tools like ChatGPT, for instance. The Japanese conglomerate's CEO, Mayoshi San, has previously said he uses ChatGPT every day and is a believer in the power of AI. Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI's cofounder, chief scientist, and a board member who played a role in Altman's dismissal, meanwhile, preferred to tread more carefully given the potential threats AI poses to society.
Sutskever created a "Super Alignment" team within the company to ensure that future versions of GPT-4, the technology behind ChatGPT, wouldn't be harmful to humanity, according to The New York Times.