Tuesday 28 November 2023

Silicon Valley Rep Calls For OpenAI Transparency

 A Democratic congressman hailing from Silicon Valley wants more clarity on what happened behind the scenes with ChatGPT creator OpenAI firing and rehiring its co-founder and CEO Sam Altman in a matter of days.

“To me, if there’s one headline, it should be: OpenAI’s board should tell us what the concerns were,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) said on Monday during an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

The lawmaker noted that “what we have speculated” is that the whirlwind series of events that took place one week ago could be tied to a reported breakthrough with an artificial general intelligence called Q* capable of solving “complex” mathematical problems that has led to “safety” concerns.


“We don’t know. We should know. Every journalist should demand that OpenAI’s board tell us what the safety concerns were,” he said.

Listing ways the House could respond, Khanna said he might join colleagues in writing a letter demanding more transparency or even hold a hearing.

OpenAI’s board offered few details when it announced Altman’s ouster on November 17, claiming Altman “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.”

But, while facing the threat of a staff revolt and an exodus to Microsoft led by Altman himself, the company reversed course and brought back Altman last week with a plan to shake up the board that fired him in the first place.

Khanna, who recently helped introduce bipartisan legislation that would have the United States coordinate with “Five Eyes” intelligence allies on artificial intelligence, said there should be an agency in the federal government to oversee the development of artificial intelligence and “licensing the technology where appropriate.”


Though Khanna said, “There has been a secrecy and lack of transparency that I find concerning,” the lawmaker emphasized that he believes “the bigger issue” is the wealth disparity that the emergence of artificial intelligence may cause.

“Globalization has led to a situation,” he said, where “the 1% of this country control” roughly one-third of the wealth and the bottom 50% have 2% of the wealth.

“And you’re going to have AI — it’s going to be great for my district. All of these companies are going to do well,” Khanna said before asking, “What’s going to happen to workers? What’s going to happen to ordinary folks?”

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