Is Altman's return to OpenAI a loss for humanity?
- The last barrier to a commercial takeover of AI advances has fallen after the recent OpenAI tussle, leaving us with a free-for-all in this vital field even as biotech businesses rush brashly ahead in another.
"Meet the old new boss. Same as the old boss." These are the ending lines of a song by The Who, written by Pete Townshend, titled We Won’t Get Fooled Again. The song is in many ways emblematic of what we have seen at OpenAI over the last few days. The back-and-forth will go down in legend. But what we have really seen is probably the death of any form of artificial intelligence (AI) as a force for good. Let me explain: OpenAI was first a non-profit research lab whose mission was to safely develop AI that was at a human level or beyond, often called artificial general intelligence or AGI (with ‘singularity’ defined as the point at which AI goes beyond human intelligence). The emphasis was on safety to avoid what Yuval Noah Hariri once warned of in the Financial Times: “Once big data knows me better than I know myself, authority will shift from humans to algorithms." (on.ft.com/49WXB1a)