Sam Altman’s AI is supposed to revolutionize the world – he himself is preparing for his downfall with gold, weapons and gas masks

OpenAI boss Sam Altman
His AI is supposed to revolutionize the world – he himself is preparing for the downfall with gold, weapons and gas masks

OpenAI boss Sam Altman wants to change the world

© Kevin Dietsch/AFP / Getty Images

The artificial intelligence ChatGPT is considered revolutionary in many fields. The man behind it has been known for years as an exceptional talent. And for fearing AI as a possible downfall of humanity.

Software rarely dominates the headlines so consistently. Since OpenAI released its artificial intelligence ChatGPT to the public, it has been hyped and hated. While some see it as the future of the computer, others fear the downfall of the education system and journalism. Few are interested in the man behind it. There is more than enough to tell about Sam Altmann.

Anyone who deals with Silicon Valley has known the name before. At the age of only 28, he took over the management of the most famous start-up supporter Y Combinator – at the express wish of his predecessor. Even then, Altman was considered an exceptional talent. The founding members of OpenAI also read like a who’s who of Valley greats: in addition to Altman, Elon Musk, Paypal founder Peter Thiel and Linked-in inventor Reid Hoffmann also participated. After Musk retired, Altman assumed leadership of the new company.

AI as the end of the world

The fact that OpenAI exists in its current form is not only due to the possibilities that Altman and Musk see in the development of artificial intelligence – but also because of their fear of it. Unlimited artificial intelligence could endanger humanity, Musk warned early on. Altman also believes that. OpenAI is therefore intended to tame the dangers of AI. Namely, by making them accessible to everyone. This idea is quite controversial. “If you have a button that triggers bad things, you wouldn’t give it to everyone,” warned philosopher Nick Bostrom back in 2016.

Altman himself seems to share the fear in principle. He’s preparing for the downfall of mankind, he told two founders he mentored with Y Combinator – in response to a question about his hobbies. He sees a virus outbreak, nuclear war or an increasingly aggressive AI as the most likely variants for the end of mankind, which he explained to the founders, who were “horrified” according to “The New Yorker”. “I have firearms, gold, potassium iodide and gas masks from Israeli military stocks and a piece of land to fly to,” he said. And reassured: “I try not to think about it too much.”

OpenAI boss Sam Altman: His AI is supposed to revolutionize the world – he himself is preparing for the downfall with gold, weapons and gas masks

Between fear and optimism

His mother also confirmed to the magazine that Altman is a generally rather anxious type. He always calls her when he thinks he has meningitis or lymphoma and googles it. “I always have to tell him that it’s just stress,” explains the dermatologist. Her son always fears the worst, but at the same time is optimistic that it won’t come to that.

She knows his downfall plans: In 2016 his plan was to flee to New Zealand with Peter Thiel in his house in the event of a pandemic, she reports. That should be obsolete today. After Peter Thiel’s support of Donald Trump, the two went their separate ways. Altman had positioned himself clearly against Trump. Nevertheless, he was interested in the attitude of his voters. In a blog, Altman recorded the insights he gained after talking to 100 Trump supporters.

The revolution is coming

But the political divide between tech investors is unlikely to be limited to Trump. While Thiel is known for his theory that democracy and freedom are incompatible, Altman is surprisingly left-leaning for an American. He does not want to see the profits achieved by AI and robots in the companies. But by doing so, we support society itself.

He elaborates on this idea in a blog post. Because the majority of housing will be automated in the future, work should no longer be taxed, but only capital, primarily in the form of companies and land ownership. According to Altman’s idea, people should devote their free time to each other and “promote the common good”.

He has no doubt that AI will change the world: “This technical revolution can no longer be stopped.”

Sources:The New Yorker, Wired, Altman’s blog, Altman’s blog 2

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