Sam Altman, Mr. Artificial Intelligence – Economics

On Tuesday, he must be heard by an American parliamentary committee on the promises and dangers of artificial intelligence (AI). This technology has been in the spotlight since millions of people have adopted ChatGPT, the OpenAI interface capable of conversing with humans in natural language and generating all kinds of text on simple request.

Sam Altman created OpenAI in 2015 – initially a non-profit foundation – with the idea of ​​developing an AI that would be “safe and benefit humanity”, in the words of Elon Musk in an interview in New York. Times.

The two entrepreneurs and the other co-founders share the fear that poorly controlled AI will become more powerful than humans.

“Regulate” these new systems

On paper, OpenAI seems to be headed in exactly that direction. In 2016, “building a robot capable of performing household chores” was one of those goals. Today, after generative AI, it wants to achieve so-called “general” AI, that is to say programs with human cognitive abilities. “It will be essential to regulate” these new systems, tweeted Sam Altman, in February.

Another solution would be not to develop such sophisticated AIs. But “engineers like him are smart enough to realize that these technologies are going to exist anyway,” said Insider Intelligence analyst Jeremy Goldman. “Unless there’s a merger with AI, it either enslaves us or we enslave it,” Sam Altman told a New Yorker reporter in 2016. “Humans have to go up a level.”

Born in April 1985, the entrepreneur grew up in St Louis (Missouri). His life changed when he received a Mac for his eighth birthday, and the internet helped him deal with being gay when he had “nobody to talk to about it,” he told Esquire in 2014. He studied computer science at the prestigious Stanford, but quickly left the university to create, in 2005, the social network Loopt, valued at more than 43 million dollars when he sold it in 2012.

In 2014, he took the helm of Y Combinator, which invests in start-ups and advises entrepreneurs, in exchange for shares. The organization has notably helped Airbnb, Stripe and Reddit.

“He thinks and speaks quickly”

Under his leadership, the incubator is expanding far beyond software, to include start-ups from many other sectors, such as Industrial Microbes, a biotech start-up. Its president, Derek Greenfield, remembers someone very “intense”. “He thinks and speaks quickly, he asks the difficult questions, but always in an encouraging way,” he describes. “He pushed the limits. I don’t know where we would be if he hadn’t transformed YC”.

A fan of shorts and T-shirts, sports car enthusiast and airplane pilot in his spare time, Sam Altman often gives the impression of being introverted. He calls himself an optimist but is also a survivalist, according to the New Yorker: he stores weapons, gold, water and antibiotics on his property in Big Sur, on the California coast.

The prolific entrepreneur has personally invested in different ventures, including $375 million in Helion, a nuclear fusion start-up. “My vision for the future and the reason why I love (Helion and OpenAI) is that if we can really bring down the cost of intelligence and the cost of energy, the quality of life for everyone is going to increase dramatically,” he told CNBC last week.

According to the Financial Times, he is also set to raise $100 million for Worldcoin. The company, which he co-founded in 2019, aims to create an identification system based on the human iris, a cryptocurrency and a payment application.

On the political side, he called Donald Trump a “threat to national security” and designed, in 2016, an application to encourage young people to vote. At the end of 2019, he organized a fundraiser for Democratic candidate Andrew Yang, who advocates universal income, that is to say a minimum allowance for all, which would compensate for the loss of jobs due to automation. “It’s not complicated: we need technology to create more wealth and a policy that distributes it fairly,” wrote Sam Altman on his blog.

letelegramme Fr Trans

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.
Back to top button