Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, said he has no intentions of taking the startup-turned-AI-juggernaut public because he wants to keep full control over the company, Bloomberg reports.
"When we develop superintelligence, we're likely to make some decisions that public market investors would view very strangely," Altman said at an Abu Dhabi event, his latest stop in a highly scrutinized, globetrotting tour discussing how to safely develop AI.
When asked about why he didn't have equity in his own company, Altman replied that he wants to stay "non-conflicted."
"I think the chance that we have to make a very strange decision someday is non-trivial," he added.
It's unclear what a "very strange decision" would entail. But whatever it might look like, Altman obviously doesn't want anyone second-guessing him, fearing blowback if he had to take a course of action that would upset public investors.
"I don't want to be sued by... [the] public market, Wall Street etc, so no, not that interested," he explained, as quoted by Reuters.
And really, OpenAI doesn't need Wall Street's money. The quondam non-profit isn't exactly strapped for cash, with its big daddy benefactor, Microsoft, reportedly investing over $10 billion into the company so far.
Furthermore, its premier product, ChatGPT, has been an extraordinary cultural sensation since its debut in November, attracting venture capitalists that have helped bump up OpenAI's valuation to nearly $30 billion. All this while being speciously non-profit, using a for-profit arm that allows it to be a "capped-profit company."
"We have a very strange structure. We have this cap to profit thing," Altman said, per Reuters.
Super Duper Intelligence
The company's finances aside, it is curious that Altman considers the development of a "superintelligence" — under his stewardship, no less — to be a foregone conclusion, a sort of faux certainty reminiscent of Elon Musk's perennially unfulfilled promises of fully self-driving cars.
Impending superintelligence or not, Altman has personally called on Congress for more regulation on AI, though considering that barely a week later he seemingly threatened to cease operations in the European Union over its stringent regulations, the sincerity of those remarks could be called into question. You could call even call them a "very strange decision."
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