Sam Altman under fire amid AI safety concerns, legal tussle at OpenAI - Hindustan Times

Sam Altman under fire amid AI safety concerns, legal tussle at OpenAI

May 25, 2024 04:20 PM IST

Surrounded by a fresh wave of controversies, Sam Altman-led OpenAI is now facing questions regarding its stance on AI safety.

From non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) signed by employees to the latest spat with a known Hollywood actress, Microsoft-backed OpenAI is surrounded by a fresh wave of controversies. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is now also facing questions, raised by former executives, regarding the firm's commitment towards AI safety.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman (AFP)(AFP)
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman (AFP)(AFP)

Former OpenAI policy researcher Gretchen Krueger recently announced that she has decided to part ways with the company, soon after senior executives Jan Leike and Ilya Sutskever resigned from their posts. Krueger further wrote on social media platform X that she had “overlapping concerns” when it came to the company.

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Public criticism by former employees is piling up against OpenAI, with many suggesting that the developing artificial intelligence technology could have serious consequences for humanity. This concern was previously backed by Sam Altman himself.

Stuart Russell, a leading AI researcher and a pioneer of the technology, told Business Insider that significant crises can be triggered by the rapid development of artificial intelligence, including a fast-growing wave of AI deepfakes and AI-led economy crash.

Russel, who is a professor at the University of California Berkley, said Atlman's attitude towards building artificial general intelligence before working on its safety is “absolutely unacceptable”, reported Business Insider.

“This is why most of the safety people at OpenAI have left,” he said. Russel further added, “Even people who are developing the technology say there's a chance of human extinction. What gave them the right to play Russian roulette with everyone's children?”

Criticism against OpenAI's commitment towards AI safety comes as Sam Altman firm faces a legal tussle with actress Scarlett Johansson. The actress recently took to social media to point out that the flagship voice for OpenAI's new GPT-4o model was “eerily similar” to her own, despite her turning down the offer by Altman to work on the project.

She accused OpenAI for using her voice without her permission, just as many creatives have made similar allegations against the artificial intelligence firm.

The OpenAI board itself had pointed out issues with Sam Altman's leadership during his dramatic ouster from the company last year in November. However, with top executives separating from OpenAI and openly criticising its policies it likely soon to but Altman in a bind once again.

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