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Threat to humanity: OpenAI staff warn of AI breakthrough

Threat to humanity: OpenAI staff warn of AI breakthrough Secret project codenamed Q* could have been a factor in Sam Altman's termination (Photo: Unsplash)

Before OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was ousted, several researchers from the company sent a letter to the board of directors, warning about the development of a powerful artificial intelligence that, in their opinion, "could pose a threat to humanity", writes Reuters.

This letter was noted in a list of numerous complaints to the board of directors, leading to Altman's dismissal. Reuters was unable to reach the authors for comments from OpenAI. However, in response to the inquiry, the company informed its employees about the existence of a project called Q* (Q-Star).

Several OpenAI employees see in this project a potential breakthrough in the field of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). The company defines AGI as an autonomous system capable of surpassing humans in most economically valuable tasks.

According to one source, at present, Q* can perform elementary school-level mathematical tasks, but the successful completion of such tests is inspiring researchers with optimism about its future development.

The main distinction of such AGI is its ability to set goals, break down complex processes into smaller ones, work across a wide range of tasks, and find context-aware solutions from various fields. In simpler terms, such intelligence theoretically has the potential to replace a high-level expert who possesses knowledge, skills, and experience.

Researchers believe that mathematics represents an advanced stage in the development of generative artificial intelligence. Currently, it successfully performs tasks such as writing and translation, statistically predicting the next word, with responses to the same question varying significantly.

Conquering mathematics, where there is only one correct answer, implies that artificial intelligence will gain broader reasoning abilities similar to human intelligence. Experts suggest that this could be applied, for example, in new scientific research.

Threat to humanity: OpenAI staff warn of AI breakthroughSam Altman (photo: BBC)

In their letter to the board of directors, researchers expressed concerns about the power of AI and its potential dangers. They also highlighted the work of a special "AI scientist" team, whose existence was confirmed by numerous sources. According to one source, this team is studying how to optimize existing AI models to improve their reasoning and ultimately perform scientific work.

Altman led efforts to transform ChatGPT into one of the fastest-growing software applications in history. He also secured investments and computational resources from Microsoft necessary to move closer to the creation of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

Prior to his leave, at a global conference in San Francisco Altman announced that major advances were in sight.

"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.

Despite being dismissed the next day, almost all OpenAI employees supported him. They issued an open letter addressing possible transitions to work at Microsoft. Ultimately, Altman's return to the position of OpenAI CEO was announced the day before.

Earlier, we reported on Altman's dismissal and how it might impact the development of AI