OpenAI CEO Sam Altman says the AI revolution should face regulations like airlines by an “international agency” to avert global harm to humanity

What you need to know

  • OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was recently featured in the All-In podcast, where he discussed the development of GPT-5, AI regulation, a potential AI-powered iPhone competitor, and the OpenAI fiasco that led to his firing and reinstatement as CEO.
  • Sam Altman says the iPhone is the greatest piece of technology humanity has ever made and would be a considerable undertaking to compete with.
  • Altman indicates that AI regulation is crucial in the not-so-distant future when powerful AI systems could pose a significant threat to humanity.
  • The CEO says AI should be regulated like an airplane by an international agency that ensures the safety testing of these advances.

OpenAI Sam Altman was recently featured in the All-In podcast with Chamath, Jason, Sacks & Friedberg. During the broad interview, Altman discussed everything from GPT-5, what an AI-powered iPhone competitor could look like, to AI regulation. 

The interview started with Sam Altman, who indicated that OpenAI tends to take its time when making significant releases. For instance, reports indicate the ChatGPT maker is set to unveil its GPT-5 model later in the summer. While he didn’t categorically state when the model will be released, he indicated that GPT-4 has gotten quite good since its launch and has continued to improve, “particularly over the last few months.”

Altman also indicated that while GPT-4 access is limited to ChatGPT Plus subscribers, OpenAI is actively trying to figure out a way of making more advanced technology accessible to users for free as part of its founding mission — developing advanced tools and making them widely available to users worldwide for free. This specific issue has landed Sam Altman and OpenAI in court after billionaire Elon Musk filed a suit against both parties over a “stark betrayal of the founding mission.” Musk further claims that OpenAI has become Microsoft’s closed-source de facto subsidiary.

AI-powered iPhone rival

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He further disclosed that a major priority for OpenAI is to try to put AI tech in people’s hands, including access to a free version of ChatGPT that doesn’t feature ads. As you might recall, Altman stated that the AI revolution might not require new hardware, but in the event it does, users will be happy to get a new device.

When asked what an AI-powered device is designed to compete with Apple’s iPhone and whether it would be just as expensive or more expensive, Sam Altman spelled out his interest in new form factors of computing. “With every major technological advance, a new thing becomes possible,” Sam Altman added.

Last year, a new report emerged indicating Apple’s former Chief Design Officer, Jony Ive, and OpenAI are in talks that could lead to the development of an “iPhone of artificial intelligence.” The device would potentially provide a “more natural and intuitive experience” when interacting with AI via the device.

Sam Altman believes the iPhone is the greatest piece of technology humanity has ever made. As such, he indicated that Apple has set the bar extremely high and would require a considerable undertaking to match or beat it. However, Altman indicated that he’s been discussing ideas with Jony Ive. Interestingly, the OpenAI CEO indicated that people are already willing to pay for phones; therefore, the cost implications would be a major factor when making these technological advancements.

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AI should be regulated by an international agency

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Generative AI is a touchy subject for most users, especially when it comes to security and privacy. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman seems to share similar sentiments and sees the need for regulation of the technology. He added that we’re on the brink of major technological advances that could take shape in the not-so-distant future, which could potentially cause significant global harm to humanity if elaborate measures and policies aren’t in place to prevent AI from spiraling out of control.

Altman proposed an “international agency” to solve this issue. The agency’s mandate would be to regulate powerful AI systems and ensure reasonable safety testing.

According to Altman:

“The reason I’ve pushed for an agency-based approach for kind of like the big-picture stuff and not like a write-it-in-law is in 12 months, it will all be written wrong.”

He based this argument on the premise that lawmakers might be unable to make policies that will regulate the technology as it rapidly evolves. Instead, Altman believes AI should be regulated like an airplane:

“When like significant loss of human life is a serious possibility, like airplanes, or any number of other examples where I think we’re happy to have some sort of testing framework. I don’t think about an airplane when I get on it. I just assume it’s going to be safe.”

Last year, the Biden-Harris administration issued an Executive Order addressing AI privacy, safety, and trust, but Altman is inclined toward the international agency approach as it could potentially have a greater grasp over AI technological advances. The Executive Order compels developers of powerful AI tools like ChatGPT and Microsoft Copilot to provide safety test results and other critical information to ascertain AI safety.

OpenAI won’t launch GPT-5 or its AI-powered search engine yet

(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman recently shut the door on the rumors swirling around the internet over the past week. Altman indicated that ChatGPT won’t unveil the much-anticipated GPT-5 model or its AI-supercharged search engine, which could potentially compete with Google and Bing in the search landscape. However, we can expect ChatGPT demos and new announcements for OpenAI’s GPT-4 model, which “feels like magic” to Sam Altman.

Kevin Okemwa is a seasoned tech journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya with lots of experience covering the latest trends and developments in the industry. With a passion for innovation and a keen eye for detail, he has written for leading publications such as OnMSFT, MakeUseOf, and Windows Report, providing insightful analysis and breaking news on everything revolving around the Microsoft ecosystem. While AFK and not busy following the ever-emerging trends in tech, you can find him exploring the world or listening to music.

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