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Contrary to Reports, OpenAI Probably Isn't Building Humanity-Threatening AI

Recent reports speculate OpenAI's "Q*" could be a breakthrough or risky AI, but its actual impact remains uncertain.

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Recent reports have stirred up a storm of speculation about OpenAI's latest project, "Q*," with some suggesting it could be a harbinger of AI that poses a risk to humanity. Leading media outlets like Reuters and The Information have highlighted a letter reportedly penned by OpenAI staff to their board, pointing out both the impressive capabilities and potential risks of Q*.

This project, known for tackling basic mathematical problems, is speculated to be a stepping stone towards a significant technological breakthrough. However, the veracity of this letter reaching OpenAI's board remains in question, as reported by The Verge.

Beyond the sensational headlines, a closer examination suggests that the reality of Q* might be far less ominous and perhaps not an entirely new development in the realm of AI.

The Reality Behind Q*

Subsequent investigations and expert opinions have cast doubt on the narrative that Q* represents a significant leap in AI capabilities or risks. Notably, there is debate over whether OpenAI’s board even received the letter mentioned in initial reports. Additionally, seasoned AI researchers, including Meta's Yann LeCun, have expressed scepticism, viewing Q* as likely an extension of existing work at OpenAI and other labs. The “Q” in Q* refers to “Q-learning,” a well-established AI technique, while the asterisk may relate to A*, a pathfinding algorithm dating back to 1968.

AI Safety and Misconceptions

openai probably isn't building humanity threatening ai

The sensationalism surrounding Q* overshadows the reality of AI development at OpenAI and elsewhere. AI experts like Nathan Lambert from the Allen Institute for AI and Mark Riedl, a computer science professor at Georgia Tech, have criticized the hyperbolic media narrative. They emphasize that there's no evidence suggesting that OpenAI’s projects, including large language models like ChatGPT, are anywhere close to achieving Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) or posing a societal scale risk.

OpenAI's Commitment to Responsible AI Development

Despite the stir caused by the Q* reports, OpenAI’s work remains focused on enhancing AI capabilities in a safe and controlled manner. The organization is dedicated to improving the mathematical reasoning of AI systems and ensuring their alignment with human values. Recent advancements may even help guide AI models towards more desirable and logical outcomes, reducing the risk of them reaching harmful or incorrect conclusions.

Conclusion: Dispelling the Myths

In conclusion, the fears about OpenAI potentially creating a humanity-threatening AI are mainly unfounded. The AI field, including OpenAI, is characterized by incremental advancements rather than sudden leaps towards AGI. It's important to approach such reports critically and understand the actual state of AI development. OpenAI and the broader AI research community continue to prioritize AI safety and ethical considerations, making it a global priority alongside other critical issues like nuclear war and AI regulation.