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  • Khushboo Pareek

AI can cause significant damage even with 'subtle misalignments,' says OpenAI CEO

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has expressed concerns about the potential perils of artificial intelligence, arguing "very subtle societal misalignments," could potentially lead them to cause significant disruption.

In a video call Tuesday at the World Governments Summit in Dubai, Altman reiterated his proposal for the establishment of an oversight body akin to the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor the rapid advancements in artificial intelligence, which are outpacing global expectations, reported the Associated Press.

Altman said, "There's some things in there that are easy to imagine where things really go wrong. And I'm not that interested in the killer robots walking in the street direction of things going wrong."

He added, "I'm much more interested in the very subtle societal misalignments where we just have these systems out in society and through no particular ill intention, things just go horribly wrong."

Altman, however, emphasised that the AI industry, including entities like OpenAI, should not be the primary decision-makers when it comes to crafting regulations for the sector.

"We're still in the stage of a lot of discussion. So there's you know, everybody in the world is having a conference. Everyone’s got an idea, a policy paper, and that's OK," Altman said. "I think we're still at a time where debate is needed and healthy, but at some point in the next few years, I think we have to move towards an action plan with real buy-in around the world."

San Francisco-based AI startup OpenAI is a leader in its field, backed by billions of dollars investment from Microsoft. Its CEO Altman has become the face of rapid commercialization of generative AI, while raising concerns about its impact.

The UAE, governed by seven hereditary sheikhdoms, imposes tight controls on speech, hindering the flow of crucial information for AI like ChatGPT.

G42, an Abu Dhabi firm overseen by the national security adviser, possesses a leading Arabic AI model but faces spying allegations.

Altman expressed optimism about schools embracing AI despite initial concerns about students using it for papers, acknowledging AI's infancy.

"I think the reason is the current technology that we have is like ... that very first cellphone with a black-and-white screen," he said.

"So give us some time. But I will say I think in a few more years it'll be much better than it is now. And in a decade it should be pretty remarkable," he added.


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