OpenAI's Sam Altman says AI is ‘safe enough’ after Scarlett Johansson row - Hindustan Times
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OpenAI's Sam Altman says AI is ‘safe enough’ after Scarlett Johansson row

By | Edited by Mallika Soni
May 22, 2024 07:27 AM IST

OpenAI is grappling with questions about the safety of the company's AI following the departure of the team responsible for mitigating long-term AI risks.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman defended his company saying that AI technology is safe for widespread use amid concerns over risks and lack of proper safeguards. His remarks came at a Microsoft event in Seattle after a controversy erupted over an OpenAI AI voice which closely resembled actress Scarlett Johansson.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaks during the Microsoft Build conference at the Seattle Convention Center Summit Building in Seattle, Washington.(AFP)
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaks during the Microsoft Build conference at the Seattle Convention Center Summit Building in Seattle, Washington.(AFP)

Scarlett Johansson issued a statement saying that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman had approached her in September asking her if she would lend her voice but she declined the offer.

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“When I heard the released demo, I was shocked, angered and in disbelief that Mr. Altman would pursue a voice that sounded so eerily similar to mine that my closest friends and news outlets could not tell the difference,” she said in a statement.

Read more: Sam Altman on difference between OpenAI and Google: ‘Competitors are…’

Sam Altman said, “My biggest piece of advice is this is a special time and take advantage of it. This is not the time to delay what you're planning to do or wait for the next thing.”

Read more: Sam Altman says he can't go out to eat in public anymore: 'It's strangely isolating'

He added, “We kind of take for granted that GPT-4, while far from perfect...is generally considered robust enough and safe enough for a wide variety of uses.”

Sam Altman insisted that OpenAI had put in "a huge amount of work" to ensure the safety of its models.

"When you take a medicine, you want to know what's going to be safe, and with our model, you want to know it's going to be robust to behave the way you want it to," he said.

Questions about OpenAI's commitment to safety resurfaced last week when the company dissolved its "superalignment" group which was dedicated to understanding and reducing long-term dangers of AI.

Read more: Scarlett Johansson vs OpenAI: Actor hired lawyers to push back against Sam Altman company. Here's why

Team co-leader Jan Leike announced his departure from OpenAI and slammed the company for prioritizing "shiny new products" over safety in a series of posts on X (formerly Twitter).

“Over the past few months, my team has been sailing against the wind. These problems are quite hard to get right, and I am concerned we aren't on a trajectory to get there,” he said.

 

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