'I Don't Care If We Burn $50 Billion A Year,' Because AGI Is Going To Be 'Totally Worth It'

Sam Altman
CEO of OpenAI, former president of Y Combinator

To some people in this world, AI may seem to be an alienating topic. But in the world of technology, AI is like a 'god', and that is because for many reasons.

For example, the technology is able to accomplish many feats that were previously impossible for even the smartest human beings, and that the technology can accomplish the feats in fraction amount of time.

With the rapid development of AI technology and everything that comes and goes with it, there should be a way to government this particular technology.

According to Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, intelligence has somehow become the "fundamental property of matter", and that AI is "going to lift the world up".

For good reasons, because AI "is going to be the most meritocratic moment" in history.

And OpenAI, known to the world with AI like ChatGPT, in on a mission to "ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity."

Sam Altman.
Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO of OpenAI.

But to reach the goal of reaching AGI, or Artificial General Intelligence, a lot of resources is needed, and resources don't come cheap, and Altman doesn't care.

"Whether we burn 500 million a year, or 5 billion or 50 billion a year, I genuinely don’t care - as long as we stay on the trajectory where eventually we create way more value for society than that and as long as we can figure out a way to pay the bills."

"We're making AGI. It's going to be expensive. It's totally worth it."

AGI refers to a hypothetical form of artificial intelligence that exhibits intelligence and cognitive abilities comparable to those of humans across a wide range of tasks and contexts.

Unlike narrow AI systems, or ANI, which are designed for specific tasks, AGI would possess the capacity for learning, reasoning, problem-solving, and understanding complex concepts akin to human intelligence. AGI aims to transcend the limitations of current AI systems by encompassing a broader spectrum of capabilities, enabling it to adapt to new situations, generalize knowledge across domains, and exhibit creativity and self-awareness.

Achieving AGI is considered a significant milestone in AI development, with potential implications for various fields, including robotics, healthcare, education, and beyond.

Altman suggests that he would do practically anything, and spend whatever money he can get his hands on, as long as AGI can be made.

When that happens, "ChatGPT is mildly embarrassing at best," Altman said, and that "GPT-4 is the dumbest model any of you will ever have to use again, by a lot."

To pursue this, and pay its ever-increasing cost of computational power and talent necessary for OpenAI’s research, the company needs to earn money from capital beyond just donations and its business model.

This is OpenAI has to have a for-profit subsidiary.

"I think making money is a good thing. I think capitalism is a good thing," Altman said, speaking at Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center.

"My co-founders on the board have had financial interests and I’ve never once seen them not take the gravity of the mission seriously. But we’ve put a structure in place that we think is a way to get incentives aligned."

But this for-profit is still bound by the nonprofit’s mission.

Over the years, OpenAI’s mission hasn’t changed, but the structure has been, and will continue to be, adapted, Altman told the audience.

"If we go build AGI in the basement, and then the world is blissfully walking blindfolded along, I don’t think that makes us very good neighbors," Altman said. "Let society co-evolve [with] the technology. Let society tell us what it collectively, and people individually, want from the technology."

"We owe ourselves and the people of the future a better world," Altman said.

OpenAI operates with a unique approach to openness.

While the organization initially aimed for complete transparency and openness in its research and developments, it has adopted a more nuanced stance over time. OpenAI releases research papers, publishes code, and provides access to some of its models and tools, contributing to the advancement of AI technology and fostering collaboration within the research community.

However, due to concerns about the potential misuse of powerful AI technologies, OpenAI has also implemented safeguards, such as withholding certain models or capabilities deemed too risky to release openly.