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17 May, 2023 12:40

AI ‘could go quite wrong’ – ChatGPT inventor

Sam Altman has told US Congress that the technology could cause “significant harm”
AI ‘could go quite wrong’ – ChatGPT inventor

The CEO of OpenAI, the company that developed ChatGPT, has urged US lawmakers to establish regulations for artificial intelligence. Sam Altman warned on Tuesday that the technology “could go quite wrong,” and likened the advent of AI programs to the invention of the printing press.  

During a five-hour hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee, the ChatGPT inventor was grilled on the potential dangers of AI chatbots and their ability to reshape human history. Altman admitted that his worst fear is that “significant harm” could be caused by the technology. 

“If this technology goes wrong, it could go quite wrong, and we want to be vocal about that,” he said, adding that OpenAI is seeking to “work with the government to prevent that from happening.” 

Senators quizzed Altman about the specific threats posed by ChatGPT and similar models, with Josh Hawley of Missouri asking if the technology could potentially influence elections.  

“Should we be concerned about models that can predict survey opinion and then help organizations and entities fine-tune strategies to elicit behaviors from voters?” Hawley asked. 

In response, Altman stated that AI’s powers of persuasion were one of his “greatest areas of concern,” insisting that significant work must be done to regulate the technology ahead of the 2024 US presidential election. 

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut noted the potential dangers posed by AI to the job market, calling it “the biggest nightmare” facing the public.  

Altman admitted that some professions would eventually be automated out of existence, but argued that new jobs would also be created as the technology progresses. 

Tuesday’s hearing was the first of a planned series intended to find ways to regulate AI programs such as ChatGPT. Since its release late last year, the app has become the fastest-growing in history, surpassing 100 million users in just two months. Amid fears that AI could soon get out of control, US lawmakers have stressed that measures to control it should have been developed long ago. 

Earlier this month, the “godfather of AI” Geoffrey Hinton warned that the advent of artificial intelligence posed a “more urgent” threat to humanity than climate change. Other tech industry leaders, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, also co-signed an open letter in March warning of the potential ramifications of an unregulated AI arms race. They called on Silicon Valley to impose a six-month pause in the development of the technology.