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CEO of OpenAI answers issues about safety and equity.

CEO of OpenAI answers issues about safety and equity.

Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, recently addressed criticism about the company’s safety culture and its treatment of departing employees’ equity. In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on 19 May, Altman clarified that OpenAI has never taken back vested equity from employees who did not sign a separation agreement.

Expressing regret, Altman stated his embarrassment about running OpenAI and encouraged former employees to reach out to him. This response followed a 17 May post by OpenAI’s former head of alignment, Jan Leike, who announced his departure while criticizing the company’s approach to safety. Leike emphasized the inherent dangers of building smarter-than-human machines and criticized the prioritization of product development over safety. He also called for renewed focus on the implications of AGI.

AGI, or artificial general intelligence, refers to AI systems capable of matching or surpassing human capabilities in most activities. Altman acknowledged Leike’s concerns, praised his contributions, and reaffirmed OpenAI’s commitment to safety. He promised to share a more detailed post later and defended the company’s launch procedures alongside Greg Brockman, OpenAI co-founder, and president.

Despite these assurances, AFP reported that OpenAI had disbanded its AI risk team. Additionally, Ilya Sutskever, co-founder of OpenAI, announced his departure on 15 May, expressing support for Altman, Brockman, and Mira Murati. Sutskever, who had been removed from the board following his involvement in Altman’s temporary firing last November, expressed confidence that OpenAI would build AGI that is both safe and beneficial.