Tuesday, April 16, 2024
HomeTECHNOLOGYBefore Altman's Ouster, OpenAI Researchers Warned About 'AI Discovery' That Could Be...

Before Altman’s Ouster, OpenAI Researchers Warned About ‘AI Discovery’ That Could Be Threat To

Ahead of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s four-day ouster, a group of staff researchers at the company penned a letter to the board of directors, cautioning about a significant artificial intelligence (AI) breakthrough that, according to two sources familiar with the matter, they believed could pose a threat to humanity, says a report by news agency Reuters. The undisclosed letter and the emergence of the AI algorithm were pivotal events leading to the board’s removal of Altman, a prominent figure in generative AI, as indicated by the two sources, the report added.

The sources identified the letter as one element in a broader set of concerns that contributed to Altman’s dismissal by the board, including worries about commercialising advancements without fully grasping the repercussions. The report noted that Reuters couldn’t access a copy of the letter, and the staff members who authored it did not reply to requests for comment.

According to a few people at OpenAI, Q* (pronounced Q-Star) could represent a breakthrough in the startup’s quest for artificial general intelligence (AGI), said one source cited by the report. OpenAI defines AGI as autonomous systems capable of outperforming humans in a wide array of economically valuable tasks.

Before Altman’s return on Tuesday, more than 700 employees had reportedly considered resigning and aligning with supporter Microsoft, in solidarity with dismissed Altman.

Altman returned to OpenAI as the CEO after over the weekend, he was asked to leave the Microsoft-backed AI research firm in the wake of the board reportedly losing “confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI. After rumours surfaced of Mira Murati or Emmett Shear stepping up as the interim CEO, OpenAI confirmed that Alman will indeed return in the top role as the company has “reached an agreement in principle”.

Meanwhile, the abrupt change in leadership at OpenAI came as a shock, given Altman’s prominent position as the face of generative AI and his instrumental role in steering the AI firm’s transition from a non-profit organisation to a commercially viable entity.

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