The CEO of OpenAI has admitted repeatedly that he's scared of the tech his company is cooking up — but he doesn't think you should make fun of him for it.
"I think it's weird when people think it's like a big dunk that I say, I'm a little bit afraid," OpenAI CEO and noted doomsday prepper Sam Altman told podcaster Lex Fridman in an episode dropped this past weekend. "And I think it'd be crazy not to be a little bit afraid, and I empathize with people who are a lot afraid."
While Altman iterated during his Fridman show appearance that his concerns are primarily "disinformation problems or economic shocks" and not algorithmic "superintelligence," he has said a bunch of stuff recently that suggests that he's more than a little wigged out about AI.
Take, for instance, his recent comments to ABC News: "A thing that I do worry about is… [OpenAI is not] not going to be the only creator of this technology."
"There will be other people who don't put some of the safety limits that we put on it," Altman added.
While it seems legit to worry about less-ethical competitors (which is kind of ironic given everything we know about OpenAI) or about the "potentially scary" AIs that will follow his company's current offerings, the comments he's referring to — when he told Fox News that it's a good thing that he has trepidations about what he's created — are pretty eyebrow-raising, even in spite of his attempts to downplay them.
"We've got to be careful here," Altman told the news network earlier in March. "I think people should be happy that we are a little bit scared of this."
While it certainly is good that there are concerns at the top of OpenAI about what may come of artificial intelligence, it doesn't exactly inspire confidence that the CEO has been repeatedly quoted saying he's scared of it — and no amount of couching language will change how weird or funny that is, because if we can't laugh while the world burns, then what else can we do?
More on AI feelings: CEO of OpenAI Says Elon Musk's Mean Comments Have Hurt Him
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