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The AI Safety Debate is Tearing Silicon Valley Apart


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On Twitter, there are the safety-first technocrats, led by venture firms like General Catalyst in partnership with the White House, and the self-described “techno-optimists,” led by libertarian-leaning firms like Andreessen Horowitz.

Credit: jgroup/iStock/Getty Images, HI! ESTUDIO/Unsplash

It's not just OpenAI. 

The long-simmering fault lines within OpenAI over questions of safety with regard to the deployment of large language models like GPT, the engine behind OpenAI's ChatGPT and DALL-E services, came to a head on Friday when the organization's nonprofit board of directors voted to fire then-CEO Sam Altman. In a brief blog post, the board said that Altman had not been "consistently candid in his communications." Now rumors are swirling about Altman's next move—and possible return. 

But OpenAI is not the only place in Silicon Valley where skirmishes over AI safety have exploded into all-out war. On Twitter, there are two camps: the safety-first technocrats, led by venture firms like General Catalyst in partnership with the White House; and the self-described "techno-optimists," led by libertarian-leaning firms like Andreessen Horowitz

The technocrats are making safety commitments and forming committees and establishing nonprofits. They recognize AI's power and they believe that the best way to harness it is through cross-disciplinary collaboration.

 

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