The founder of one of the most popular artificial intelligence apps is warning against the dangers of AI technology.
On Tuesday, Sam Altman – the CEO of OpenAI, which created the very popular AI app called ChatGPT – gave testimony to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee. The hearing is likely the first step in a potential series of hearings regarding AI, and it showed that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are equally concerned about the technology.
Both Democrats and Republicans asked similar questions regarding AI, centering on the impact that the technology could have on future jobs as well as the risks it could bring to intellectual property.
Altman, who is one of the most recognizable figures in modern AI technology, said that he would work right alongside the federal government as well as others in the AI industry so that everyone could move forward and have a path that would simultaneously maximize the potential benefits of AI technology while also minimizing the many risks it could present.
As he testified at the hearing:
“My worst fears are that we – the field, the technology, the industry – cause significant harm to the world. I think that can happen in a lot of different ways.
“I think if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong, and we want to be vocal about that. We want to work with the government to prevent that from happening.”
The hearing revolved around potential oversight on AI technology that might be needed from the government level. The panelists on the Senate committee focused most of their questions around the risks that AI technology could present, rather than asking Altman specifically what OpenAI’s plans were.
He responded at one point by saying that just like other major technological revolutions that have happened in the past, there likely will be a “significant impact” on jobs due to emerging AI technology. Yet, he said it would be difficult to predict the exact impact it could have right now.
To that point, he said that the model that powers ChatGPT, called GPT4, would “entirely automate away some jobs.” However, he also added that the technology would create new jobs as well. As he explained:
“GPT4 is a tool not a creature. GPT4 and other systems like it are good at doing tasks, not jobs, so you see already people that are using GPT4 to do their job much more efficiently.”
ChatGPT exploded in popularity starting last November. Data produced by a company called Similarweb revealed that in April alone, the app garnered 1.76 billion visits across the world.
Microsoft has heavily invested in OpenAI and has already integrated ChatGPT into some of the company’s tools, including its search engine Bing.
Other rival companies such as Google are investing heavily in AI technology of their own, hoping to create something as popular and impactful as ChatGPT.
As such, the senators on the panel said there was a great urgency to figure out whether AI needed to be regulated based on how many new products that are powered by generative AI are coming onto the market.