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OpenAI boss plays down fears over AI taking over the world

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman

OpenAI chief Sam Altman says human-level AI will soon break through, potentially changing society and jobs less than expected. 

He was speaking during a conversation organized by Bloomberg at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Mr Altman said: “It will change the world much less than we all think and it will change jobs much less than we all think.”

Referring to Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) he added that it could be developed in the "reasonably close-ish future." 

Altman’s company, OpenAI, took the internet by storm after the launch of ChatGPT chatbot in 2022.

However, he was cautious about overexcitement and warned of potential disappointment with the technology, emphasizing that true AGI is not yet realized. 

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OpenAI, founded in 2015 with a mission to achieve AGI, is backed by Microsoft and holds a private market valuation approaching $100 billion.

Altman was asked if AI would exacerbate economic inequalities and lead to the dislocation of the working class as the presidential elections ramp up.

He replied: “Yes, for sure, I think that’s something to think about”, but later added: “This is much more of a tool than I expected.”

Mr Altman highlights AI's potential as an "incredible tool for productivity" rather than a significant source of job displacement.

Altman's views on AI safety were central to his temporary ousting from OpenAI in November, as the board expressed a loss of confidence. 

However, he was swiftly reinstated after widespread backlash from employees and investors

Altman acknowledges AI's role in economic dislocation but frames it as a tool rather than a disruptive force. 

Microsoft gained a nonvoting board observer seat at OpenAI following Altman's return.

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