New York CNN
In 2017, there was a rumor that Sam Altman planned to run for Governor of California. He kept his job as an influential investor and entrepreneur in Silicon Valley.
Altman will now make a new kind of political debut.
Altman, CEO and co-founder at OpenAI, the artificial-intelligence company that created the viral chatbot ChatGPT, and the image generator Dall-E is scheduled to testify in front of Congress on Tuesday. Altman's appearance is part a Senate Subcommittee Hearing on the Risks Artificial Intelligence Poses for Society and What Safeguards Are Needed for the Technology.
Multiple reports indicate that House lawmakers from both sides of aisle will also host a dinner on Monday with Altman. Dozens are expected to attend. One Republican lawmaker described it as a part of Congress's process to assess the 'extraordinary potential and unprecedented danger that artificial intelligence poses to humanity'.
Altman, one of a number of tech CEOs, met with Vice President Kamalah Harris and briefly President Joe Biden earlier this month as part of White House efforts to highlight the importance of ethical, responsible AI development.
ChatGPT, which has been causing a new AI arms race since its launch in 2016, is the reason for both the hearings and meetings. In recent months, a growing number of tech companies deployed new AI tools that have the potential to transform how we shop, work and interact. These same tools, however, have drawn criticism from tech's most prominent names because of their potential to disrupt jobs and spread misinformation.
Altman is perhaps the most prominent face of a new generation of AI products, which can produce images and text in response to prompts from users. The hearing this week may cement Altman's status as a key player in AI growth, and increase scrutiny on him and his company.
Altman has been described as a brilliant and prescient thinker by those who have met him. He was even called "a startup Yoda" by some. Altman, in interviews conducted this year has claimed to be 'a little scared' by AI. Altman and his company are committed to moving forward responsibly.
Brian Chesky wrote about Altman in a blog post, stating that he was the only person who could predict the future. This was due to Altman's inclusion on Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People list this year. Sam knows he does not have all the answers. He asks, "What do you think?" Perhaps I'm mistaken? It's good to know that someone so powerful has such humility.
Altman and OpenAI are also being urged to be more cautious. Elon Musk who founded OpenAI and then left the group signed a letter with dozens of other tech leaders, professors, and researchers calling on artificial intelligence labs such as OpenAI to stop training the most powerful AI system for at least six month. They cited 'profound risk to society and mankind'
Altman said that he agrees with some parts of the letter. Altman stated at a recent event that he believes it is important to move with caution, and increase the rigor of safety concerns. The letter was not the best way to deal with it, I believe.
OpenAI refused to allow anyone to be interviewed for this article.
Altman has been well known in Silicon Valley since years.
Altman studied computer science at Stanford University before co-founding OpenAI in 2015. He dropped out of the program to launch Loopt. The app allowed users to share their location with friends and receive coupons from nearby businesses.
Loopt was one of the first companies to be accepted into Y Combinator in 2005. This prestigious accelerator is known for its high-tech startups. Paul Graham, the co-founder of Y Combinator described Altman later as a'very unusual guy'
Graham posted a blog in 2006 that said, "Within three minutes of meeting Bill Gates, I remembered thinking, 'Ah! This is what Bill Gates was like at 19'".
Loopt was purchased in 2012 for approximately $43 million. Altman succeeded Graham as president at Y Combinator two years later. Altman was able to network with many influential figures in the technology industry. He was at the accelerator's helm until 2019.
Margaret O'Mara is a professor and tech historian at the University of Washington. She told CNN that Altman has been 'long admired' as a thoughtful and significant man. He's also one of the few people at the top of technology who have a great deal of influence.
Altman became a new face during the Trump administration as he was a vocal critic. In this context, Altman was said to be considering running for governor of California.
Altman, instead of running for office, looked to support candidates who shared his values. These included a lower cost of living and clean energy, as well as a 10% reduction in the defense budget, to be used to fund research and development.
Altman is continuing to work on some of these goals in the private sector. He invested in Helion - a fusion company that signed a deal last week with Microsoft to supply clean energy by 2028.
Altman is also a supporter of the idea for a universal income. He has said that AI can help achieve this goal one day by creating so much wealth that it could be distributed back to the general public.
Altman's goal, Graham said to The New Yorker in 2016 about Altman, is to create the future.
A decade of AI work has led to an overnight AI sensation
Musk and Altman launched OpenAI to combat the fears that AI would harm society and people.
We discussed the best way to make sure the future is bright. Musk spoke to the New York Times of a conversation he had with Altman, among others, before founding the company. We could either sit on the sidelines, encourage regulatory oversight or participate with the correct structure and people who are passionate about the development of A.I. In a safe, beneficial way for humanity.
Altman, in an interview given at the launch event of OpenAI explained that the company was his attempt to influence the direction of AI technology. Altman said, 'I can sleep better now that I have some influence.'
Altman has clearly succeeded in influencing the rapidly evolving technology.
ChatGPT has been a household word for less than six months, and is now almost synonymous with AI. CEOs use it to draft email. Realtors use it to draft legal documents and write iistings. It has been used by some students to cheat on exams at law and business school. OpenAI released a new, more powerful version the technology that powers ChatGPT.
Google and Facebook, two tech giants, are racing to catch-up. Similar generative AI is rapidly finding its way into search and productivity tools used by millions of people.
The future, which once seemed so far away now seems to be right around the corner. Altman has admitted that he is not sure how the film will end up.
O'Mara believes Altman is part of 'the tech-optimists school of thought' that has dominated the Valley for many years. She describes this as the 'idea that we can create technology that will make the world better'
Altman's cautious remarks on AI may seem at odds with this way of thinking. However, O'Mara believes it could be an extension of it. She said that the issue is essentially about 'the idea of technology being transformative, and that it can be transformed in a positive manner, but it also has such a lot of capacity that it could be dangerous.
Altman is more likely than others to be able to adapt if AI were to help usher in the end of our society.
In a profile on him published in 2016 in The New Yorker he stated that he prepared for survival. He listed several disaster scenarios including an 'A.I. In a 2016 profile of him in the New Yorker, he said: 'I prep for survival.' He listed several possible disaster scenarios, including 'A.I.
Altman replied, "I try to not think about it much." Altman said, 'But, I have guns and gold, potassium-iodide antibiotics, batteries, drinking water, gasmasks from the Israeli Defense Forces, and I can fly there.