The founder of ChatGPT clarifies his vision of artificial intelligence

Sam Altman, father of ChatGPT CARLOS BARRIA / REUTERS

Sam Altman, the head of OpenAI, also spoke about the risks that generative artificial intelligence poses for artistic creativity and American elections.

The confidential words of an artificial intelligence guru. “I have a lot of empathy for people’s feelings, regardless of their feelings.» about ChatGPT, Sam Altman, head of OpenAI, which launched a technological revolution with this generative artificial intelligence (AI) platform a year ago, told AFP on Thursday. The Silicon Valley star just attended a conference with senior officials from Google and Meta (Facebook, Instagram) on the sidelines of the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit, which is being held in San Francisco this week.

Despite their success, ChatGPT and other interfaces capable of producing texts, images and sounds on simple request also raise serious concerns about the dangers to democracy (massive misinformation) or employment (replaced occupations), in particular. “We really hope that these tools will be adopted by creators and help them,” Sam Altman continued about artists angry at OpenAI applications. “Of course, we will have to find an economic model that works“, he admitted. “And we’re going to have to let people decide whether they want to be in it or not.“.

Artists, programmers and writers (including George RR Martin, author of “Game of Thrones“) filed a lawsuit this year against OpenAI and the California start-up’s competitors, accusing them of using their works to create their interfaces without respecting their copyrights, without consent or compensation. In Hollywood, a historic strike by screenwriters and actors that just finished focused specifically on their fears that generative artificial intelligence will be used to exploit them.

China and AI

Altman himself has not only enemies. As he leaves the conference hall, Apec attendees who are fans of the entrepreneur gather around him to take selfies with him. When asked about the use of artificial intelligence in China, he assures “not knowing much about how China uses AI“. “This is outside my area of ​​expertise“, he continued.

The Apec summit was marked by rivalry between the United States and China, engaged in fierce economic and political competition. And for many American organizations, the question concerns the social model, while even President Joe Biden admits that he considers the Chinese leader “dictator“.

Beijing uses artificial intelligence for population surveillance purposes, particularly through facial recognition. In April, authorities indicated that generative AI tools would be reviewed and should “reflect fundamental socialist values ​​and do not contain (elements related to) subversion of state power“.

A threat to the elections

The regulation of artificial intelligence is also being discussed in the European and American parliaments, but with the aim of not being used for discrimination, manipulation or fraud. OpenAI and other US AI giants are calling for new rules, as long as they “don’t slow down some of the amazing progress that is happening“, explained Sam Altman.

The US government is particularly concerned about the role that generative artificial intelligence will play during the 2024 election campaign. The technology enables the creation of hyperrealistic montages (deepfakes) and fake content, and thus disinformation campaigns.

There are a lot of unknowns, we don’t yet know what generative artificial intelligence is capable of especially in terms of video», admitted Sam Altman during the conference. “But it’s going to happen fast and furious during an election year, and we’ll have to watch it closely to react when it does.“.

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