OpenAI, a well-known artificial intelligence (AI) organization, which is valued at over $500 billion, was initially formed as a nonprofit company. However, its former leader, Sam Altman, has expressed his belief that OpenAI should have been a government project. Altman claims that he tried to secure government funding for the company but was unsuccessful.
Altman approached officials at the White House, the Defense Department, and the Energy Department in 2017 to discuss the possibility of government investment in OpenAI. Despite the potential importance of AI technology for the United States, Altman’s efforts were met with bureaucratic obstacles and did not result in any funding. Altman believes that if the government had been involved, OpenAI’s development could have advanced at a faster pace.
Interestingly, Altman’s perspective differs from the general sentiment in Silicon Valley, where many view the government as ineffective in dealing with technology-related matters. Altman, on the other hand, has a more positive view of the government’s potential in regulating AI. He acknowledges that not all members of Congress are experts on the subject but believes that there are enough individuals with a genuine understanding of AI to make a difference.
Altman has actively engaged with government officials, demonstrating OpenAI’s capabilities and expressing his willingness to collaborate on regulation. His respectful and humble approach has garnered him respect in Washington, and he has become a prominent figure in discussions about AI regulation.
In a show of progress, Senators Richard Blumenthal and Josh Hawley have announced plans to introduce the first formal framework for regulating AI. This regulatory framework may include licensing requirements, safety standards, and the establishment of an independent federal office for overseeing AI technology. Altman has expressed his support for the creation of such an office.
However, it remains to be seen whether the government can effectively regulate AI, given the complex issues it poses. Companies like IBM and Google have different perspectives on the matter, and Elon Musk has even called for a temporary halt to advanced AI development. The disagreements and competing interests among industry leaders make it challenging to achieve a consensus on regulation.
Despite the hurdles, there is hope that a greater recognition of the need for regulation and collaboration between Silicon Valley and Washington can lead to positive outcomes. The discussions and debates surrounding AI regulation signify a shift in attitudes and a recognition of the potential consequences of unchecked AI development.