OpenAI’s Altman Says We May Not Be Far From ‘Potentially Scary’ AI

  • Microsoft’s AI-powered Bing unnerved some people recently with shocking responses.
  • Amid discussions and scrutiny, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman shared his thoughts on AI In a series of tweets on Sunday.
  • He warned the world may not be “that far from potentially scary” AI and said regulation will be “critical.”

Sam Altman, the CEO of ChatGPT creator OpenAI, warned the world may not that “that far from potentially scary” artificial intelligence, and said regulating it will be “critical.”

In a series of tweets on Sunday, Altman said a transition to an AI-enabled future is “mostly good” and can happen fast — like the transition from “pre-smartphone world to post-smartphone world.” 

He, however, cautioned society needs time to adapt to “something so big” as AI.

“We also need enough time for our institutions to figure out what to do. regulation will be critical and will take time to figure out; although current-generation AI tools aren’t very scary, i think we are potentially not that far away from potentially scary ones,” he tweeted. 


He flagged that one challenge with AI chatbots is “people coming away unsettled from talking to a chatbot, even if they know what’s really going on.”

This phenomenon was recently seen with Microsoft’s ChatGPT-powered Bing search engine. Bing unnerved some people last week after it started giving shocking responses to queries, which ranged from snarky and argumentative, to overtly emotional.

Microsoft explained in a blog post last Wednesday that long chats can “confuse the model” which may at times try to respond or “reflect the tone in which it is being asked to provide responses that can lead to a style we didn’t intend.” The company’s also trying to rein in the platform — it’s now limiting the number of exchanges users can have with the bot. Users can now ask Bing up to five questions per session and have up to 50 sessions a day.

Altman’s been talking about regulating AI since 2015

It’s not the first time Altman has talked about regulating AI. He wrote about this on his blog as early as March 2015.

“The US government, and all other governments, should regulate the development of SMI,” he wrote, referring to superhuman machine intelligence. “In an ideal world, regulation would slow down the bad guys and speed up the good guys — it seems like what happens with the first SMI to be developed will be very important.”

Altman’s Sunday tweet about regulation echoed comments made by Mira Murati, the CTO of OpenAI, who said in a February 5 interview with Time magazine that ChatGPT should be regulated, as it could be misused. “It’s not too early” to regulate it, Murati told the media outlet.

Elon Musk — a cofounder of OpenAI alongside Altman — said last Wednesday during the World Government Summit in Dubai that AI has “great, great promise” and capabilities — both positive and negative, but needs regulation.

“I think we need to regulate AI safety, frankly,” said Musk, per CNBC. “It is, I think, actually a bigger risk to society than cars or planes or medicine.”

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