Accelerating AI

2 minute read

In the movie Her, set in the near future, a lonely man falls in love with an AI assistant, who speaks to him through an airpod-like device. OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman has hinted that his company’s impressive new product, GPT-4o, was modeled on the AI in Her, down to its voice that many have likened to Her star Scarlett Johansson’s. (OpenAI heard from Johansson’s lawyers.) GPT-4o responds as quickly as a human might in conversation, can "see" the world through your phone camera, and even simulates emotion in its inflection. Some noted that Her is a dystopia that explores the hollowness of falling in love with an AI that cannot experience the emotion, let alone return it. But OpenAI executives are optimistic that AI companions are the future of computing, and that society will fall naturally into coexistence with these cybernetic beings. Meanwhile, two leaders of OpenAI’s team dedicated to stopping AI from causing, in the company’s own words, “human extinction,” resigned the week of GPT-4o’s announcement. One of them said the company had long prioritized "shiny products" over safety research, and said it required a “cultural change” if it were ever going to develop advanced AI safely. "We have a lot more to do; we are committed to doing it," Altman said in the wake of the resignations. On May 29, OpenAI announced a new safety committee, co-led by Altman.

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