OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on GPT-4: Debunking Hype and Prioritizing Safety and Responsibility

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman recently addressed rumors surrounding the unannounced GPT-4 model, saying that “people are begging to be disappointed and they will be.” During an interview with StrictlyVC, Altman was asked if GPT-4 would be released in the first quarter or half of the year, but he did not confirm any specific timeframe. He stated, “It’ll come out at some point, when we are confident we can do it safely and responsibly.”

GPT-3 was released in 2020 and an improved version, GPT 3.5, was used to create ChatGPT. The launch of GPT-4 has been highly anticipated, with some members of the AI community and Silicon Valley already declaring it to be a significant leap forward. Predictions about the capabilities of GPT-4 have become a meme in certain circles, particularly when it comes to guessing the model’s number of parameters, which corresponds to an AI system’s complexity and capability, but not in a linear fashion.

When asked about a viral chart that purported to compare the number of parameters in GPT-3 (175 billion) to GPT-4 (100 trillion), Altman called it “complete bullshit.” He stated, “The GPT-4 rumor mill is a ridiculous thing. I don’t know where it all comes from. People are begging to be disappointed and they will be. The hype is just like… We don’t have an actual AGI and that’s sort of what’s expected of us.” AGI refers to “artificial general intelligence,” which is shorthand for an AI system with at least human-equivalent capabilities across many domains.

In the interview, Altman also addressed the topic of when OpenAI will build an AI model capable of generating video. He stated, “It will come. I wouldn’t want to make a confident prediction about when… We’ll try to do it, other people will try to do it… It’s a legitimate research project. It could be pretty soon; it could take a while.” He also mentioned that the company is currently not making much money and is still in the early stages.

Altman also touched on the need for AI with different viewpoints. He stated, “The world can say, ‘Okay here are the rules, here are the very broad absolute rules of a system.’ But within that, people should be allowed very different things that they want their AI to do. If you want the super never-offend, safe-for-work model, you should get that, and if you want an edgier one that is creative and exploratory but says some stuff you might not be comfortable with, or some people might not be comfortable with, you should get that. And I think there will be many systems in the world that will have different settings of the values they enforce. And really what I think — but this will take longer — is that you, as a user, should be able to write up a few pages of ‘here’s what I want; here are my values; here’s how I want the AI to behave’ and it reads it and thinks about it and acts exactly how you want because it should be your AI.”

This point is notable in light of ongoing conversations about AI and bias. Systems like ChatGPT tend to repeat many social biases, like sexism and racism, which they internalize based on their training data. Companies like OpenAI try to mitigate these biases by preventing the systems from repeating these ideas, but some concerns still remain. Altman’s statement highlights the importance of allowing users to customize their AI and set their own values and preferences, rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all approach.

Altman’s comments on GPT-4 serve as a reminder that while advancements in AI are exciting, it’s important to approach them with realistic expectations and to consider the broader implications of these technologies. OpenAI’s focus on safety and responsibility in the development and release of GPT-4 is commendable and it will be interesting to see what the final product will bring to the table.

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