OpenAI CEO Says Possible to Get Regulation Wrong, But Should Not Fear It

In a time of rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) technology, the CEO of OpenAI, the organization behind ChatGPT, Sam Altman, emphasized the importance of AI regulation while acknowledging that it is possible to make mistakes in the regulatory process. Altman, who is also the public face of OpenAI and enjoys backing from Microsoft Corp, shared his views during a visit to Taipei, echoing concerns that have arisen globally regarding the responsible development and oversight of AI.

Numerous countries around the world are actively planning and considering AI regulation. In an effort to address these concerns and foster a collective understanding of the risks associated with cutting-edge AI technology, Britain is set to host a global AI safety summit in November. The summit’s focus will be on comprehending these risks and exploring how both national and international frameworks can support the responsible use of AI.

During his visit, Sam Altman conveyed that he wasn’t overly concerned about the possibility of government over-regulation in the AI sector but acknowledged that it remains a potential outcome.

“I also worry about under-regulation. People in our industry bash regulation a lot. We’ve been calling for regulation, but only of the most powerful systems,” Altman stated.

He went on to clarify that AI systems with capabilities far exceeding those of current models, such as those “like 10,000 times the power of GPT-4” or those “as smart as human civilization,” may indeed warrant some form of regulation. Altman expressed these views while participating in an AI event hosted by the charitable foundation of Terry Gou, the founder of Foxconn, a major Apple supplier.

Altman acknowledged that the tech industry often exhibits a reflexive anti-regulation stance. However, he emphasized that regulation has historically been a positive force in various domains. Drawing a parallel to air travel safety, Altman noted that people generally trust the safety of airplanes due to regulations in place. He explained, “I don’t want to have to make an opinion about every time I step on an airplane how safe it’s going to be, but I trust that they’re pretty safe, and I think regulation has been a positive good there.”

In conclusion, Sam Altman underscored that while it is possible to make mistakes in the process of crafting AI regulation, the technology community should not fear it. He suggested that some form of regulation is crucial, especially when dealing with highly powerful AI systems. Altman’s comments highlight the ongoing dialogue around the responsible and balanced development of AI technologies, ensuring that they benefit society while minimizing risks.

Notably, Terry Gou, who is currently running as an independent candidate for the position of Taiwan’s next president, attended the event but did not speak at the forum.

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