Monday, September 18, 2023

What OpenAI Really Wants - Steven Levy, Wired

For Altman and his company, ChatGPT and GPT-4 are merely stepping stones along the way to achieving a simple and seismic mission, one these technologists may as well have branded on their flesh. That mission is to build artificial general intelligence—a concept that’s so far been grounded more in science fiction than science—and to make it safe for humanity. The people who work at OpenAI are fanatical in their pursuit of that goal. (Though, as any number of conversations in the office cafĂ© will confirm, the “build AGI” bit of the mission seems to offer up more raw excitement to its researchers than the “make it safe” bit.) These are people who do not shy from casually using the term “super-intelligence.” They assume that AI’s trajectory will surpass whatever peak biology can attain. The company’s financial documents even stipulate a kind of exit contingency for when AI wipes away our whole economic system.