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A report from Reuters details that recently staff researchers at OpenAI sent a warning to the Board of Directors about a powerful artificial intelligence discovery that could pose a threat to humanity.

This previously undisclosed letter and AI algorithm were said to be pivotal events that led to the dismissal of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.

  • Staff Letter to Board of Directors: The letter was one of the significant factors among a list of grievances by the board that led to Altman’s removal. Other concerns included premature commercialization of advances without fully understanding potential outcomes.
  • The AI Project – Q Star: This project is believed by some at OpenAI to be a breakthrough in the pursuit of artificial general intelligence (AGI). The model was able to solve certain mathematical problems, providing optimism about Q Star’s future success.
  • AGI Defined: OpenAI’s definition of AGI involves autonomous systems that outperform humans in most economically valuable tasks.
  • The ‘Veil of Ignorance’: The term refers to the frontier of generative AI development. Math, a domain where there is typically only one correct answer, is seen as a milestone. Achieving this implies AI having advanced reasoning capabilities akin to human intelligence, which could be leveraged in novel scientific research.
  • Safety Concerns: The letter to the board emphasized AI’s impressive abilities and potential hazards, though the specifics of the safety concerns were not disclosed.

Altman, at a world leaders’ summit, expressed optimism about major advances on the horizon. “Four times now in the history of OpenAI, the most recent time was just in the last couple weeks, I’ve gotten to be in the room, when we sort of push the veil of ignorance back and the frontier of discovery forward, and getting to do that is the professional honor of a lifetime,” he said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

However, he was fired by the board the following day.

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