Video Thumbnail

Sam Altman: OpenAI, GPT-5, Sora, Board Saga, Elon Musk, Ilya, Power & AGI | Lex Fridman Podcast #419

I think compute is gonna be the currency of the future i think it l be maybe the most precious commodity in the world i expect that by the end of this decade and possibly somewhat sooner than that we will have quite capable systems that we look at and say wow that s really remarkable. The road to agi should be a giant power struggle i expect that to be the case whoever builds agi first gets a lot of power do you trust yourself with that much power the following is a conversation with sam altman his second time in the podcast he is the ceo of openai the company behind gpt chatgpt sora and perhaps one day the very company that will build agi this is lex fridman podcast to support it please check out our sponsors in the description and now dear friends here s sam altman.

OpenAI board saga

Take me through the openai board saga that started on thursday november th maybe friday november th for you that was definitely the most painful professional experience of my life and chaotic and shameful and upsetting and a bunch of other negative things there were great things about it too. And i wish it had not been in such an adrenaline rush that i wasn t able to stop and appreciate them at the time i came across this old tweet of mine or this tweet of mine from that time period which was it was like kind of going to your own eulogy watching people say all these great things about you and just like unbelievable support from people i love and care about that was really nice. That whole weekend i kind of like felt with one big exception i felt like a great deal of love and very little hate even though it felt like i have no idea what s happening and what s gonna happen here and this feels really bad. And there were definitely times i thought it was gonna be like one of the worst things to ever happen for ai safety. Well i also think i m happy that it happened relatively early i thought at some point between when openai started and when we created agi there was gonna be something crazy and explosive that happened but there may be more crazy and explosive things happen it still i think helped us build up some resilience and be ready for more challenges in the future. But the thing you had a sense that you would experience is some kind of power struggle the road to agi should be a giant power struggle like the world should well not should i expect that to be the case. And so you have to go through that like you said iterate as often as possible in figuring out how to have a board structure how to have organization how to have the kind of people that you re working with how to communicate all that in order to deescalate the power struggle as much as possible pacify it. But at this point it feels like something that was in the past that was really unpleasant and really difficult and painful. But we re back to work and things are so busy and so intense that i don t spend a lot of time thinking about it there was a time after there was like this fugue state for kind of like the month after maybe days after that was i was just sort of like drifting through the days i was so out of it i was feeling so down just on a personal psychological level. Yeah really painful and hard to have to keep running openai in the middle of that i just wanted to crawl into a cave and kind of recover for a while. But now it s like we re just back to working on the mission. Well it s still useful to go back there and reflect on board structures on power dynamics on how companies are run the tension between research and product development and money and all this kind of stuff so that you have a very high potential of building agi would do so in a slightly more organized less dramatic way in the future. So there s value there to go both the personal psychological aspects of you as a leader and also just the board structure and all this kind of messy stuff definitely learned a lot about structure and incentives and what we need out of a board. And i think that it is valuable that this happened now in some sense i think this is probably not like the last high stress moment of openai. But it was quite a high stress moment company very nearly got destroyed. And we think a lot about many of the other things we ve gotta get right for agi but thinking about how to build a resilient org and how to build a structure that will stand up to a lot of pressure the world which i expect more and more as we get closer i think that s super important do you have a sense of how deep and rigorous the deliberation process by the board was can you shine some light on just human dynamics involved in situations like this was it just a few conversations and all of a sudden it escalates and why don t we fire sam kind of thing i think the board members were far well meaning people on the whole. And i believe that in stressful situations where people feel time pressure or whatever people understandably make suboptimal decisions. And i think one of the challenges for openai will be we re gonna have to have a board and a team that are good at operating under pressure. Do you think the board had too much power i think boards are supposed to have a lot of power but one of the things that we did see is in most corporate structures boards are usually answerable to shareholders sometimes people have like super voting shares or whatever in this case i think one of the things with our structure that we maybe should have thought about more than we did is that the board of a nonprofit has unless you put other rules in place like quite a lot of power they don t really answer to anyone but themselves. And there s ways in which that s good but what we d really like is for the board of openai to answer to the world as a whole as much as that s a practical thing so there s a new board announced. Yeah there s i guess a new smaller board of first. And now there s a new final board not a final board. Yet we ve added some we l add more added some. Okay. What is fixed in the new one that was perhaps broken in the previous one the old board sort of got smaller over the course of about a year it was nine and then it went down to six. And then we couldn t agree on who to add and the board also i think didn t have a lot of experienced board members and a lot of the new board members at openai have just have more experience as board members i think that l help it s been criticized some of the people that are added to the board i heard a lot of people criticizing the addition of larry summers for example what was the process of selecting the board what s involved in that so bret and larry were kind of decided in the heat of the moment over this very tense weekend and that was i mean that weekend was like a real rollercoaster like a lot of lots and downs. And we were trying to agree on new board members that both sort of the executive team here and the old board members felt would be reasonable larry was actually one of their suggestions the old board members bret previous to that weekend suggested. But he was busy and didn t wanna do it. And then we really needed help in wood we talked about a lot of other people too. But i felt like if i was going to come back i needed new board members i didn t think i could work with the old board again in the same configuration although we then decided. And i m grateful that adam would stay but we wanted to get to we considered various configurations decided we wanted to get to a board of three and had to find two new board members over the course of sort of a short period of time so those were decided honestly without that s like you kind of do that on the battlefield you don t have time to design a rigorous process then for new board members since new board members will add going forward we have some criteria that we think are important for the board to have different expertise that we want the board to have unlike hiring an executive where you need them to do one role well the board needs to do a whole role of kind of governance and. Thoughtfulness. Well and so one thing that bret says which i really like is that we wanna hire board members in slates not as individuals one at a time and thinking about a group of people that will bring nonprofit expertise at running companies sort of good legal and governance expertise that s kind of what we ve tried to optimize for so is technical savvy important for the individual board members not for every board member but certainly some you need that s part of what the board needs to do. So i mean the interesting thing that people probably don t understand about openai certainly is like all the details of running the business when they think about the board given the drama they think about you they think about like if you reach agi or you reach some of these incredibly impactful products and you build them and deploy them what s the conversation with the board like. And they kind of think all right what s the right squad to have in that kind of situation to deliberate. Look i think you definitely need some technical experts there. And then you need some people who are like how can we deploy this in a way that will help people in the world the most and people who have a very different perspective i think a mistake that you or i might make is to think that only the technical understanding matters. And that s definitely part of the conversation you want that board to have but there s a lot more about how that s gonna just like impact society and people s lives that you really want represented in there too are you looking at the track record of people or you re just having conversations track record s a big deal you of course have a lot of conversations there s some roles where i kind of totally ignore track record and just look at slope kind of ignore the y intercept. Thank you thank you for making it mathematical for the audience for a board member i do care much more about the y intercept i think there is something deep to say about track record there and experiences something s very hard to replace do you try to fit a polynomial function or exponential one to track record that s not that an analogy doesn t carry that far. All right you mentioned some of the low points that weekend what were some of the low points psychologically for you did you consider going to the amazon jungle and just taking ayahuasca disappearing forever. Or i mean there s so many low like it was a very bad period of time there were great high points too. My phone was just like sort of nonstop blowing up with nice messages from people i worked with every day people. I hadn t talked to in a decade i didn t get to appreciate that as much as i should have. Cause i was just like in the middle of this firefight. But that was really nice. But on the whole it was like a very painful weekend and also just like a very it was like a battle fought in public to a surprising degree and that was extremely exhausting to me much more than i expected i think fights are generally exhausting but this one really was the board did this friday afternoon. I really couldn t get much in the way of answers but i also was just like. Well the board gets to do this. And so i m gonna think for a little bit about what i want to do. But i l try to find the blessing in disguise here. And i was like. Well my current job at openai it was like to like run a decently sized company at this point. And the thing i d always liked the most was just getting to work with the researchers. And i was like. Yeah. I can just go do like a very focused ai research effort. And i got excited about that didn t even occur to me at the time to like possibly that this was all gonna get undone this was like friday afternoon. Oh so you ve accepted the death very quickly very quickly i mean i went through like a little period of confusion and rage but very quickly and by friday night i was talking to people about what was gonna be next and i was excited about that i think it was friday night evening for the first time that i heard from the exec team here which is like hey we re gonna like fight this. And we think well. Whatever. And then i went to bed just still being like okay excited like onward were you able to sleep not a lot it was one of the weird things was there was this like period of four and a half days where sort of didn t sleep much. Didn t eat much and still kind of had like a surprising amount of energy you learn like a weird thing about adrenaline and more time. So you kind of accepted the death of this baby openai. And i was excited for the new thing i was just. Like. Okay. This was crazy but whatever it s a very good coping mechanism and then saturday morning two of the board members called and said hey we destabilize we didn t mean to destabilize things we don t restore a lot of value here can we talk about you coming back. And i immediately didn t wanna do that. But i thought a little more and i was like. Well i really care about the people here the partners shareholders i love this company. And so i thought about it. And i was like. Well okay. But here s the stuff i would need. And then the most painful time of all over the course of that weekend i kept thinking and being told not just me like the whole team here kept thinking. Well we were trying to keep openai stabilized while the whole world was trying to break it apart people trying to recruit whatever we kept being told like all right we re almost done we re almost done we just need like a little bit more time. And it was this like very confusing state. And then sunday evening when again like every few hours i expected that we were gonna be done and we re gonna figure out a way for me to return and things to go back to how they were the board then appointed a new interim ceo. And then i was like i mean that feels really bad that was the low point of the whole thing you know i l tell you something it felt very painful but i felt a lot of love that whole weekend it was not other than that one moment sunday night i would not characterize my emotions as anger or hate. But i really just like i felt a lot of love from people towards people it was like painful. But it was like the dominant emotion of the weekend was love not hate you ve spoken highly of mira murati that she helped especially as you put in a tweet in the quiet moments when it counts perhaps we could take a bit of a tangent what do you admire about mira. Well she did a great job during that weekend in a lot of chaos but people often see leaders in the crisis moments good or bad. But a thing i really value in leaders is how people act on a boring tuesday at in the morning and in just sort of the normal drudgery of the day to day how someone shows up in a meeting the quality of the decisions they make that was what i meant about the quiet moments. Meaning like most of the work is done on a day by day in a meeting by meeting just be present and make great decisions. Yeah i mean look what you have wanted to spend the last minutes about. And i understand is like this one very dramatic weekend. But that s not really what openai is about openai is really about the other seven years. Well yeah. Human civilization is not about the invasion of the soviet union by nazi germany but still that s something people totally focus on very understandable it gives us an insight into human nature the extremes of human nature and perhaps some of the damage and some of the triumphs of human civilization can happen in those moments.

Ilya Sutskever

Let me ask you about ilya is he being held hostage in a secret nuclear facility. No. What about a regular secret facility. No. What about a nuclear non secure facility neither not that either i mean this is becoming a me at some point you ve known ilya for a long time he was obviously part of this drama with the board and all that kind of stuff what s your relationship with him now i love ilya i have tremendous respect for ilya i don t have anything i can say about his plans right now that s a question for him. But i really hope we work together for certainly the rest of my career he s a little bit younger than me maybe he works a little bit longer there s a me that he saw something like he maybe saw agi and that gave him a lot of worry internally what did ilya see ilya has not seen agi none of us have seen agi we ve not built agii i do think one of the many things that i really love about ilya is he takes agi and the safety concerns broadly speaking including things like the impact this is gonna have on society very seriously. And as we continue to make significant progress ilya is one of the people that i ve spent the most time over the last couple of years talking about what this is going to mean what we need to do to ensure we get it right to ensure that we succeed at the mission so ilya did not see agi but ilya is a credit to humanity in terms of how much he thinks and worries about making sure we get this right i ve had a bunch of conversation with him in the past i think when he talks about technology he s always like doing this long term thinking type of thing. So he is not thinking about what this is gonna be in a year he s thinking about in years. Yeah just thinking from first principles like okay if the scales what are the fundamentals here where s this going. And so that s a foundation for them thinking about like all the other safety concerns and all that kind of stuff which makes him a really fascinating human to talk with do you have any idea why he s been kind of quiet. Is it he s just doing some soul searching again. I don t wanna speak for ilya i think that you should ask him that he s definitely a thoughtful guy i think i kind of think of ilya as like always on a soul search in a really good way. Yes. Yeah also he appreciates the power of silence also i m told he can be a silly guy which i ve never seen that side of him. It s very sweet when that happens i ve never witnessed a silly ilya. But i look forward to that as well i was at a dinner party with him recently and he was playing with a puppy. And he was like in a very silly move very endearing. And i was thinking like oh man this is like not the side of the ilya that the world sees the most so just to wrap up this whole saga are you feeling good about the board structure about all of this and where it s moving i feel great about the new board in terms of the structure of openai one of the board s tasks is to look at that and see where we can make it more robust we wanted to get new board members in place first. But we clearly learned a lesson about structure throughout this process i don t have i think super deep things to say it was a crazy very painful experience i think it was like a perfect storm of weirdness it was like a preview for me of what s gonna happen as the stakes get higher and higher and the need that we have like robust governance structures and processes and people i am kind of happy it happened when it did. But it was a shockingly painful thing to go through did it make you be more hesitant in trusting people. Yes just on a personal level. Yes i think i m like an extremely trusting person i ve always had a life philosophy of like don t worry about all of the paranoia don t worry about the edge cases you get a little bit screwed in exchange for getting to live with your guard down. And this was so shocking to me i was so caught off guard that it has definitely changed. And i really don t like this. It s definitely changed how i think about just like default trust of people and planning for the bad scenarios you gotta be careful with that are you worried about becoming a little too cynical i m not worried about becoming too cynical i think i m like the extreme opposite of a cynical person. But i m worried about just becoming like less of a default trusting person i m actually not sure which mode is best to operate in for a person who s developing agi trusting or untrusting it s an interesting journey you re on but in terms of structure see i m more interested on the human level how do you surround yourself with humans that are building cool shit but also are making wise decisions because the more money you start making the more power the thing has the weirder people get i think you could make all kinds of comments about the board members and the level of trust i should have had there or how i should have done things differently. But in terms of the team here i think you d have to like give me a very good grade on that one. And i have just like enormous gratitude and trust and respect for the people that i work with every day.

Elon Musk lawsuit

What is the essence of what he s criticizing to what degree does he have a point to what degree is he wrong i don t know what it s really about we started off just thinking we were gonna be a research lab and having no idea about how this technology was gonna go because it was only seven or eight years ago it s hard to go back and really remember what it was like then. But before language models were a big deal this was before we had any idea about an api or selling access to a chat bot it was before we had any idea we were gonna productize at all so we re like we re just gonna try to do research and we don t really know what we re gonna do with that i think with many new fundamentally new things you start fumbling through the dark and you make some assumptions most of which turn out to be wrong. And then it became clear that we were going to need to do different things and also have huge amounts more capital. So we said okay well the structure doesn t quite work for that how do we patch the structure. And then you patch it again and patch it again. And you end up with something that does look kind of eyebrow raising to say the least but we got here gradually with i think reasonable decisions at each point along the way and doesn. T mean i wouldn t do it totally differently if we could go back now with an oracle. But you don t get the oracle at the time. But anyway in terms of what elon s real motivations here are i don t know to the degree you remember what was the response that openai gave in the blog post can you summarize it. Oh we just said like elon said this set of things here s our characterization or here s this sort of not our characterization here s like the characterization of how this went down we tried to not make it emotional and just sort of say like here s the history. I do think there s a degree of mischaracterization from elon here about one of the points you just made which is the degree of uncertainty you had at the time you guys are a bunch of like a small group of researchers crazily talking about agi when everybody s laughing at that thought wasn t that long ago elon was crazily talking about launching rockets when people were laughing at that thought. So i think he d have more empathy for this i mean i do think that there s personal stuff here that there was a split that openai and a lot of amazing people here chose to part ways of elon. So there s a personal elon chose to part ways can you describe that exactly the choosing to part ways he thought openai was gonna fail he wanted total control to sort of turn it around we wanted to keep going in the direction that now has become openai. He also wanted tesla to be able to build an agi effort at various times he wanted to make openai into a for profit company that he could have control of or have it merged with tesla we didn t want to do that and he decided to leave which that s fine. And that s one of the things that the blog post says is that he wanted openai to be basically acquired by tesla in those same way that or maybe something similar or maybe something more dramatic than the partnership with microsoft my memory is the proposal was just like. Yeah like get acquired by tesla and have tesla have full control over it. I m pretty sure that s what it was. So what is the word open in openai mean to elon at the time ilya has talked about this in the email exchanges and all this kind of stuff what does it mean to you at the time what does it mean to you now i would definitely pick a diff speaking of going back with an oracle i d pick a different name one of the things that i think openai is doing that is the most important of everything that we re doing is putting powerful technology in the hands of people for free as a public good we don t run ads on our free version we don t monetize it in other ways we just say it s part of our mission we wanna put increasingly powerful tools in the hands of people for free and get them to use them. And i think that kind of open is really important to our mission i think if you give people great tools and teach them to use them or don t even teach them they l figure it out and let them go build an incredible future for each other with that s a big deal. So if we can keep putting free or low cost or free and low cost powerful ai tools out in the world i think that s a huge deal for how we fulfill the mission open source or. Not. Yeah. I think we should open source some stuff and not other stuff. It does become this like religious battle line where nuance is hard to have. But i think nuance is the right answer. So he said change your name to closedai. And i l drop the lawsuit i mean is it going to become this battleground in the land of memes about the name i think that speaks to the seriousness with which elon means the lawsuit i mean that s like an astonishing thing to say i think. Well i don t think the lawsuit maybe correct me if i m wrong. But i don t think the lawsuit is legally serious it s more to make a point about the future of agi and the company that s currently leading the way. Look i mean grok had not open sourced anything until people pointed out it was a little bit hypocritical. And then he announced that grok open source things this week i don t think open source versus not is what this is really about for him. Well we l talk about open source and not i do think maybe criticizing the competition is great just talking a little shit that s great but friendly competition versus like i personally hate lawsuits. Look i think this whole thing is like unbecoming of a builder. And i respect elon is one of the great builders of our time. And i know he knows what it s like to have like haters attack him and it makes me extra sad he s doing the toss. Yeah he is one of the greatest builders of all time potentially the greatest builder of all time it makes me sad. And i think it makes a lot of people sad there s a lot of people who ve really looked up to him for a long time and said this i said in some interview or something that i missed the old elon and the number of messages i got being like that exactly encapsulates how i feel i think he should just win he should just make grok beat gpt and then gpt beats grok and it s just a competition. And it s beautiful for everybody but on the question of open source do you think there s a lot of companies playing with this idea it s quite interesting i would say meta surprisingly has led the way on this or like at least took the first step in the game of chess of really open sourcing the model of course it s not the state of the art model but open sourcing llama and google is flirting with the idea of open sourcing a smaller version what are the pros and cons of open sourcing have you played around with this idea. Yeah i think there is definitely a place for open source models particularly smaller models that people can run locally i think there s huge demand for i think there will be some open source models there will be some closed source models it won t be unlike other ecosystems in that way i listened to all in podcasts talking about this lawsuit and all that kind of stuff. And they were more concerned about the precedent of going from nonprofit to this cap for profit what precedent that sets for other startups i would heavily discourage any startup that was thinking about starting as a non profit and adding like a for profit arm. Later i d heavily discourage them from doing that i don t think we l set a precedent here. Okay. So most startups should go just for sure and again if we knew what was gonna happen we would ve done that too. Well like in theory if you like dance beautifully here there s like some tax incentives or whatever. But i don t think that s like how most people think about these things just not possible to save a lot of money for a startup if you do it this way. No i think there s like laws that would make that pretty difficult where do you hope this goes with elon. Well this tension this dance what do you hope this. Like if we go one two three years from now your relationship with him on a personal level too like friendship friendly competition just all this kind of stuff. Yeah. I mean i really respect elon. And i hope that years in the future we have an amicable relationship. Yeah i hope you guys have an amicable relationship like this month and just compete and win and explore these ideas together. I do suppose there s competition for talent or whatever. But it should be friendly competition just build cool shit. And elon is pretty good at building cool shit.


So speaking of cool shit sora there s like a million questions i could ask first of all it s amazing it truly is amazing on a product level but also just on a philosophical level so let me just technical philosophical ask what do you think it understands about the world more or less than gpt for example like the world model when you train on these patches versus language tokens i think all of these models understand something more about the world model than most of us give them credit for and because they re also very clear things they just don t understand or don t get right. It s easy to look at the weaknesses see through the veil and say this is all fake but it s not all fake it s just some of it works. And some of it doesn t work i remember when i started first watching sora videos and i would see like a person walk in front of something for a few seconds and occlude it and then walk away and the same thing was still there i was like this is pretty good. Or there s examples where the underlying physics looks so well represented over a lot of steps in a sequence it s. Like. Oh this is like quite impressive. But fundamentally these models are just getting better and that will keep happening if you look at the trajectory from dall e to sora there were a lot of people that were dunked on each version saying it can t do this it can t do that and i m like look at it now. Well the thing you just mentioned is kind of with the occlusions is basically modeling the physics of three dimensional physics of the world sufficiently well to capture those kinds of things. Well. Yeah maybe you can tell me in order to deal with occlusions what does the world model need to. Yeah. So what i would say is it s doing something to deal with occlusions. Really well what i represent that it has like a great underlying d model of the world. It s a little bit more of a stretch but can you get there through just these kinds of two dimensional training data approaches it looks like this approach is gonna go surprisingly far i don t wanna speculate too much about what limits it will surmount and which it won t. What are some interesting limitations of the system that you ve seen i mean there s been some fun ones you ve posted there s all kinds of fun i mean like cats sprouting a extra limit at random points in a video like pick what you want but there s still a lot of problem there s a lot of weaknesses do you think that s a fundamental flaw of the approach or is it just bigger model or better technical details or better data more data is going to solve the cat sprouting extremes i would say yes to both i think there is something about the approach which just seems to feel different from how we think and learn and whatever. And then also i think it l get better with scale i mentioned llms have tokens text tokens and sora has visual patches so it converts all visual data a diverse kinds of visual data videos and images into patches is the training to the degree you can say fully self supervised there is there some manual labeling going on what s the involvement of humans in all this i mean without saying anything specific about the sora approach we use lots of human data in our work but not internet scale data. So lots of humans lots of complicated word sam i think lots is a fair word in this case but it doesn t because to me lots like listen i m an introvert and when i hang out with like three people that s a lot of people. Yeah four people that s a lot. But i suppose you mean more than more than three people work on labeling the data for these models. Yeah. Okay. All right. But fundamentally there s a lot of self supervised learning cause what you mentioned in the technical report is internet scale data that s another beautiful. It s like poetry. So it s a lot of data that s not human label it s self supervised in that way. And then the question is how much data is there on the internet that could be used in this that is conducive to this kind of self supervised way if only we knew the details of the self supervised do you have you considered opening it up a little more details we have you mean for source specifically source specifically because it s so interesting can the same magic of llms now start moving towards visual data and what does that take to do that. I mean it looks to me like. Yes. But we have more work to do sure what are the dangers why are you concerned about releasing the system what are some possible dangers of this i mean frankly speaking one thing we have to do before releasing the system is just like get it to work at a level of efficiency that will deliver the scale people are gonna want from this so that i don t wanna like downplay that and there s still a ton of work to do there. But you can imagine like issues with deep fakes misinformation we try to be a thoughtful company about what we put out into the world and it doesn t take much thought to think about the ways this can go badly there s a lot of tough questions here you re dealing in a very tough space do you think training ai should be or is fair use under copyright law i think the question behind that question is do people who create valuable data deserve to have some way that they get compensated for use of it. And that i think the answer is yes i don. T know yet what the answer is people have proposed a lot of different things we ve some tried some different models but if i m like an artist for example i would like to be able to opt out of people generating art in my style and b if they do generate art in my style. I d like to have some economic model associated with that. Yeah it s that transition from cds to napster to spotify we have to figure out some kind of model. The model changes but people have gotta get paid well there should be some kind of incentive if we zoom out even more for humans to keep doing cool shit everything i worry about humans are gonna do cool shit and society s gonna find some way to reward it that seems pretty hardwired we want to create we want to be useful we want to achieve status in whatever way that s not going anywhere i don t think. But the reward might not be monetary financial it might be like fame and celebration of other cool. Maybe financial in some other way again i don t think we ve seen like the last evolution of how the economic system s gonna work yeah. But artists and creators are worried when they see sora they re like holy shit sure artists were also super worried when photography came out. And then photography became a new art form and people made a lot of money taking pictures. And i think things like that will keep happening people will use the new tools in new ways if we just look on youtube or something like this how much of that will be using sora like ai generated content do you think in the next five years people talk about like how many jobs is ai gonna do in five years and the framework that people have is what percentage of current jobs are just gonna be totally replaced by some ai doing the job the way i think about it is not what percent of jobs ai will do but what percent of tasks will ai do and over what time horizon so if you think of all of the like five second tasks in the economy five minute tasks the five hour tasks maybe even the five day tasks how many of those can ai do. And i think that s a way more interesting impactful important question than how many jobs ai can do because it is a tool that will work at increasing levels of sophistication and over longer and longer time horizons for more and more tasks and let people operate at a higher level of abstraction. So maybe people are way more efficient at the job they do and at some point that s not just a quantitative change but it s a qualitative one too about the kinds of problems you can keep in your head i think that for videos on youtube it. L. Be the same many videos maybe most of them will use ai tools in the production. But they l still be fundamentally driven by a person thinking about it putting it together doing parts of it sort of directing it and running it. Yeah it s so interesting. I mean it s scary. But it s interesting to think about i tend to believe that humans like to watch other humans or other human like humans really care about other humans a lot. Yeah. If there s a cooler thing that s better than a human humans care about that for like two days and then they go back to humans that seems very deeply wired it s the whole chest thing but now let s everybody keep playing chess and let s ignore the alpha in the room that humans are really bad at chess relative to ai systems we still run races and cars are much faster i mean there s like a lot of examples. Yeah. And maybe it l just be tooling like in the adobe suite type of way where it can just make videos much easier and all that kind of stuff. Listen i hate being in front of the camera. If i can figure out a way to not be in front of the camera i would love it unfortunately it l take a while like that generating faces it s getting there but generating faces and video format is tricky when it s specific people versus generic people.


Let me ask you about gpt there s so many questions first of all also amazing looking back it l probably be this kind of historic pivotal moment with three five and four which had gpt maybe five will be the pivotal moment i don t know hard to say that looking forwards. We never know that s the annoying thing about the future it s hard to predict but for me looking back gpt chatgpt is pretty impressive historically impressive so allow me to ask what s been the most impressive capabilities of gpt to you and gpt turbo i think it kind of sucks hmm typical human also gotten used to an awesome thing. No i think it is an amazing thing but relative to where we need to get to and where i believe we will get to at the time of like gpt people were like oh this is amazing. This is this like marvel of technology and it is it was. But now we have gpt and look at gpt and you re like that s unimaginably horrible i expect that the delta between five and four will be the same as between four and three. And i think it is our job to live a few years in the future and remember that the tools we have now are gonna kind of suck looking backwards at them and that s how we make sure the future is better what are the most glorious ways that gpt sucks meaning what are the best things it can do what are the best things it can do in the limits of those best things that allow you to say it sucks therefore gives you an inspiration and hope for the future one thing i ve been using it for more recently is sort of a like a brainstorming partner yep almost for that there s a glimmer of something amazing in there i don t think it gets when people talk about it what it does they re like helps me code more productively it helps me write more faster and better. It helps me translate from this language to another all these like amazing things but there s something about the kind of creative brainstorming partner i need to come up with a name for this thing i need to think about this problem in a different way i m not sure what to do here that i think like gives a glimpse of something i hope to see more of one of the other things that you can see a very small glimpse of is what i can help on longer horizon tasks break down something in multiple steps maybe execute some of those steps search the internet write code whatever put that together when that works which is not very often it s like very magical the iterative back and forth with a human it works a lot for me. What do you mean it works iterative back and forth to human it can get more often when it can go do like a step problem on its own it doesn t work for that too often sometimes add multiple layers of abstraction or do you mean just sequential both like to break it down and then do things that different layers of abstraction put them together. Look i don t wanna downplay the accomplishment of gpt. But i don t wanna overstate it either. And i think this point that we are on an exponential curve we l look back relatively soon at gpt like we look back at gpt now that said i mean chatgpt was the transition to where people like started to believe there is an uptick of believing not internally at openai perhaps there s believers here but when you think and in that sense i do think it l be a moment where a lot of the world went from not believing to believing that was more about the chatgpt interface. And by the interface and product i also mean the post training of the model and how we tune it to be helpful to you and how to use it than the underlying model itself how much of each of those things are important the underlying model and the rlhf or something of that nature that tunes it to be more compelling to the human more effective and productive for the human i mean they re both super important. But the rlhf the post training step the little wrapper of things that from a compute perspective little wrapper of things that we do on top of the base model even though it s a huge amount of work that s really important to say nothing of the product that we build around it in some sense we did have to do two things we had to invent we underlying technology. And then we had to figure out how to make it into a product people would love which is not just about the actual product work itself but this whole other step of how you align it and make it useful and how you make the scale work where a lot of people can use it at the same time all that kind of stuff. But that was like a known difficult thing we knew we were gonna have to scale it up we had to go do two things that had like never been done before that were both like i would say quite significant achievements and then a lot of things like scaling it up that other companies have had to do before how does the context window of going from k to k tokens compare from gpt to gpt turbo most people don t need all the way to most of the time although if we dream into the distant future we l have like way distant future we l have like context length of several billion you will feed in all of your information all of your history time and it l just get to know you better and better and that l be great for now the way people use these models they re not doing that. And people sometimes post in a paper or a significant fraction of a code repository whatever. But most usage of the models is not using the long context most of the time i like that this is your i have a dream speech one day you l be judged by the full context of your character or of your whole lifetime that s interesting. So like that s part of the expansion that you re hoping for is a greater and greater context i saw this internet clip once i m gonna get the numbers wrong. But it was like bill gates talking about the amount of memory on some early computer. Maybe it was k maybe k something like that. And most of it was used for the screen buffer. And he just couldn t seem genuine this couldn t imagine that the world would eventually need gigabytes of memory in a computer or terabytes of memory in a computer. And you always do or you always do just need to follow the exponential of technology we will find out how to use better technology. So i can t really imagine what it s like right now for context links to go out to the billion someday. And they might not literally go there but effectively it l feel like that. But i know we l use it and really not wanna go back once we have it. Yeah even saying billions years from now might seem dumb because it l be like trillions upon trillions sure there d be some kind of breakthrough that will effectively feel like infinite context but even i have to be honest i haven t pushed it to that degree. Maybe putting in entire books or like parts of books and so on papers what are some interesting use cases of gpt that you ve seen the thing that i find most interesting is not any particular use case that we can talk about those but it s people who kind of like this is mostly younger people but people who use it as like their default start for any kind of knowledge work task. And it s the fact that it can do a lot of things. Reasonably well. You can use gptv you can use it to help you write code you can use it to help you do search you can use it to edit a paper the most interesting to me is the people who just use it as the start of their workflow i do as well for many things like i use it as a reading partner for reading books it helps me think help me think through ideas especially when the books are classic. So it s really well written about and it actually is i find it often to be significantly better than even like wikipedia on well covered topics it s somehow more balanced and more nuanced or maybe it s me. But it inspires me to think deeper than a wikipedia article does i m not exactly sure what that is you mentioned like this collaboration i m not sure where magic is if it s in here or if it s in there or if it s somewhere in between i m not sure. But one of the things that concerns me for knowledge task when i start with gpt is i l usually have to do fact checking after like check that it didn t come up with fake stuff how do you figure that out that gpt can come up with fake stuff that sounds really convincing. So how do you ground it in truth that s obviously an area of intense interest for us i think it s gonna get a lot better with upcoming versions. But we l have to continue to work on it and we re not gonna have it like all solved this year. Well the scary thing is like as it gets better you l start not doing the fact checking more and more right i m of two minds about that i think people are like much more sophisticated users of technology than we often give them credit for and people seem to really understand that gpt any of these models hallucinate some of the time and if it s mission critical you gotta check it except journalists don t seem to understand that i ve seen journalists half assedly just using gpt of the long list of things. I d like to dunk on journalists for this is not my top criticism of them. Well i think the bigger criticism is perhaps the pressures and the incentives of being a journalist is that you have to work really quickly and this is a shortcut i would love our society to incentivize like i would too journalistic efforts that take days and weeks and rewards great in depth journalism also journalism that represent stuff in a balanced way where it s like celebrates people while criticizing them even though the criticism is the thing that gets clicks and making up also gets clicks and headlines that mischaracterize completely i m sure you have a lot of people dunking on well all that drama probably got a lot of clicks probably did.

Memory & privacy

You ve given chatgpt the ability to have memories you ve been playing with that about previous conversations and also the ability to turn off memory which i wish i could do that sometimes just turn on and off depending i guess sometimes alcohol can do that but not optimally i suppose what have you seen through that like playing around with that idea of remembering conversations and not we re very early in our explorations here. But i think what people want or at least what i want for myself is a model that gets to know me and gets more useful to me over time this is an early exploration i think there s like a lot of other things to do but that s where we d like to head you. D like to use a model and over the course of your life or use a system it d be many models and over the course of your life it gets better and better. Yeah how hard is that problem cause right now it s more like remembering little factoids and preferences and so on what about remembering like don t you want gpt to remember all the shit you went through in november and all the drama and then you can. Yeah. Because right now you re clearly blocking it out a little bit it s not just that i want it to remember that i want it to integrate the lessons of that and remind me in the future what to do differently or what to watch out for. And we all gain from experience over the course of our lives varying degrees. And i d like my ai agent to gain with that experience too. So if we go back and let ourselves imagine that trillions and trillions of contact length if i can put every conversation i ve ever had with anybody in my life in there if i can have all of my emails input out like all of my input output in the context window every time i ask a question that d be pretty cool. I think. Yeah i think that would be very cool people sometimes will hear that and be concerned about privacy what do you think about that aspect of it the more effective the ai becomes that really integrating all the experiences and all the data that happened to you and give you advice i think the right answer there is just user choice anything i want stricken from the record from my ai agent i wanna be able to take out if i don t want to remember anything i want that too. You and i may have different opinions about where on that privacy utility trade off for our own ai we wanna be which is totally fine. But i think the answer is just like really easy user choice but there should be some high level of transparency from a company about the user choice cause sometimes company in the past companies in the past have been kind of absolutely shady about like. Yeah it s kind of presumed that we re collecting all your data and we re using it for a good reason for advertisement and so on but there s not a transparency about the details of that s totally true you mentioned earlier that i m like blocking out the november stuff i m just teasing you. Well i mean i think it was a very traumatic thing and it did immobilize me for a long period of time like definitely the hardest like the hardest work thing i ve had to do was just like keep working that period because i had to try to come back in here and put the pieces together while i was just like in sort of shock and pain nobody really cares about that i mean the team gave me a pass and i was not working at my normal level but there was a period where i was just like it was really hard to have to do both. But i kind of woke up one morning. And i was like this was a horrible thing to happen to me. I think i could just feel like a victim forever or i can say this is like the most important work i l ever touch in my life. And i need to get back to it. And it doesn t mean that i ve repressed it because sometimes i wake in the middle of the night thinking about it. But i do feel like an obligation to keep moving forward. Well that s beautifully said but there could be some lingering stuff in there what i would be concerned about is that trust thing that you mentioned. That being paranoid about people as opposed to just trusting everybody or most people like using your gut. It s a tricky dance for sure i mean because i ve seen in my part time explorations i ve been diving deeply into the zelensky administration the putin administration and the dynamics there in wartime in a very highly stressful environment and what happens is distrust. And you isolate yourself both and you start to not see the world clearly. And that s a concern that s a human concern you seem to have taken it in stride and kind of learned the good lessons and felt the love and let the love energize you which is great but still can linger in there s just some questions i would love to ask your intuition about what s gpt able to do and not so it s allocating approximately the same amount of compute for each token it generates is there room there in this kind of approach to slower thinking sequential thinking. I think there will be a new paradigm for that kind of thinking will it be similar like architecturally as what we re seeing now with llms is it a layer on top of the llms i can imagine many ways to implement that i think that s less important than the question you were getting out which is do we need a way to do a slower kind of thinking where the answer doesn t have to get like i guess like spiritually you could say that you want an ai to be able to think harder about a harder problem and answer more quickly about an easier problem. And i think that will be important is that like a human thought that we re just having you should be able to think hard is that a wrong intuition i suspect that s a reasonable intuition. Interesting. So it s not possible once the gpt gets like gpt would just be instantaneously be able to see here s the proof of from rstm. It seems to me like you want to be able to allocate more compute to harder problems it seems to me that a system knowing if you ask a system like that proof from us last theorem versus what s today s date unless it already knew and had memorized the answer to the proof assuming it s gotta go figure that out seems like that will take more compute. But can it look like a basically llm talking to itself that kind of thing. Maybe i mean there s a lot of things that you could imagine working what the right or the best way to do that will be we don.


This does make me think of the mysterious the lore behind q star what s this mysterious q star project is it also in the same nuclear facility there is no nuclear facility that s what a person with a nuclear facility always says i would love to have a secret nuclear facility there isn t one. All right maybe someday all right one can dream openai is not a good company to keeping secrets. It would be nice we re like been plagued by a lot of leaks and it would be nice if we were able to have something like that can you speak to what q star is we are not ready to talk about that see but an answer like that means there s something to talk about it s very mysterious. Sam i mean we work on all kinds of research we have said for a while that we think better reasoning in these systems is an important direction that we d like to pursue we haven t cracked the code. Yet we re very interested in it is there gonna be moments q star or otherwise where there s going to be leaps similar to gpt where you re like that s a good question what do i think about that it s interesting to me it all feels pretty continuous. This is kind of a theme that you re saying is you re basically gradually going up an exponential slope but from an outsider s perspective for me just watching it that it does feel like there s leaps but to you there isn t i do wonder if we should have so part of the reason that we deploy the way we do is that we think we call it iterative deployment rather than go build in secret until we got all the way to gpt we decided to talk about gpt and part of the reason there is i think ai and surprise don t go together. And also the world people institutions whatever you wanna call it need time to adapt and think about these things. And i think one of the best things that openai has done is this strategy. And we get the world to pay attention to the progress to take agi seriously to think about what systems and structures and governance we want in place before we re like under the gun and have to make a rush decision i think that s really good. But the fact that people like you and others say you still feel like there are these leaps makes me think that maybe we should be doing our releasing even more iteratively i don. T know what that would mean i don t have an answer ready to go but our goal is not to have shock updates to the world. The opposite yeah for sure more iterative would be amazing i think that s just beautiful for everybody. But that s what we re trying to do that s like our state of the strategy. And i think we re somehow missing the mark. So maybe we should think about releasing gpt in a different way or something like that. Yeah. But people tend to like to celebrate people celebrate birthdays. I don t know if you know humans. But they kind of have these milestones i do know some humans people do like milestones i totally get that i think we like milestones too.


So when is gpt coming out again i don t know. That s an honest answer oh that s the honest answer is it blink twice if it s this year we will release an amazing model this year i don t know what we l call it. So that goes to the question of like what s the way we release this thing we l release over in the coming months many different things i think they l be very cool i think before we talk about like a gpt like model called that or called or not called that or a little bit worse or a little bit better than what you d expect from a gpt. I know we have a lot of other important things to release first i don t know what to expect from gpt you re making me nervous and excited what are some of the biggest challenges in bottlenecks to overcome for whatever it ends up being called but let s call it gpt just interesting to ask is it on the compute side is it in the technical side. It s always all of these what s the one big unlock is it a bigger computer. Is it like a new secret is it something else. It s all of these things together the thing that openai. I think does really well this is actually an original ilya quote that i m gonna butcher. But it s something like we multiply medium sized things together into one giant thing so there s this distributed constant innovation happening. Yeah. So even on the technical side like especially on the technical side. So like even like detailed approaches like detailed aspects of every how does that work with different disparate teams and so on how do the medium sized things become one whole giant transformer how does this there s a few people who have to think about putting the whole thing together but a lot of people try to keep most of the picture in their head. Oh like the individual teams individual contributors tried to keep a big picture at a high level. Yeah you don t know exactly how every piece works of course. But one thing i generally believe is that it s sometimes useful to zoom out and look at the entire map. And i think this is true for like a technical problem i think this is true for like innovating in business. But things come together in surprising ways and having an understanding of that whole picture even if most of the time you re operating in the weeds in one area pays off with surprising insights in fact one of the things that i used to have and i think was super valuable was i used to have like a good map of all of the frontier or most of the frontiers in the tech industry. And i could sometimes see these connections or new things that were possible that if i were only deep in one area i wouldn t be able to have the idea for because i wouldn t have all the data and i don t really have that much anymore i m like super deep now.

7 trillion of compute

Speaking of zooming out let s zoom out to another cheeky thing but profound thing perhaps that you said you tweeted about needing trillion i did not tweet about that i never said like we re raising trillion or. Blah. Oh that s somebody else. Yeah. Oh but you said it fuck it maybe eight. I think. Okay i me like once there s like misinformation out in the world. Oh you me but sort of misinformation may have a foundation of insight. There. Look i think compute is gonna be the currency of the future i think it will be maybe the most precious commodity in the world. And i think we should be investing heavily to make a lot more compute is i think it s gonna be an unusual market people think about the market for like chips for mobile phones or something like that. And you can say that okay there s billion people in the world maybe billion of them have phones or billion let s say they upgrade every two years so the market per year is billion system on chip for smartphones. And if you make billion you will not sell times as many phones because most people have one phone but compute is different like intelligence is gonna be more like energy or something like that where the only thing that i think makes sense to talk about is at price x the world will use this much compute and at price y the world will use this much compute because if it s really cheap i l have it like reading my email all day like giving me suggestions about what i maybe should think about or work on and trying to cure cancer and if it s really expensive maybe i l only use it or will only use it try to cure cancer. So i think the world is gonna want a tremendous amount of compute. And there s a lot of parts of that are hard energy is the hardest part building data centers is also hard. The supply chain is harder than of course fabricating enough chips is hard but this seems to me where things are going like we re gonna want an amount of compute that s just hard to reason about right now how do you solve the energy puzzle nuclear. That s what i believe fusion. That s what i believe nuclear fusion. Yeah who s gonna solve that i think helion s doing the best work. But i m happy there s like a race for fusion right now nuclear fusion i think is also like quite amazing. And i hope as a world we can re embrace that it s really sad to me how the history of that went and hope we get back to it in a meaningful way. So to you part of the puzzle is nuclear fusion like nuclear reactors as we currently have them and a lot of people are terrified because of chernobyl and. So on well i think we should make new reactors i think it s a shame that industry kind of ground to a halt just mass hysteria is how you explain the halt. Yeah i don t know if you know humans but that s one of the dangers that s one of the security threats for nuclear fusion is humans seem to be really afraid of it. And that s something we have to incorporate into the calculus of it. So we have to kind of win people over and to show how safe it is i worry about that for ai. I think some things are gonna go theatrically wrong with ai i don t know what the percent chances that i eventually get shot. But it s not zero. Oh like we wanna stop this maybe how do you decrease the theatrical nature of it i ve already starting to hear rumblings cause i do talk to people on both sides of the political spectrum here rumblings where it s going to be politicized ai is going to be politicized really worries me because then it s like maybe the right is against ai and the left is for ai cause it s going to help the people or whatever the narrative and the formulation is that really worries me. And then the theatrical nature of it can be leveraged fully how do you fight that i think it will get caught up in like left versus right wars. I don. T know exactly what that s gonna look like. But i think that s just what happens with anything of consequence unfortunately what i meant more about theatrical risks is like ai is gonna have i believe tremendously more good consequences than bad ones. But it is gonna have bad ones. And there l be some bad ones that are bad but not theatrical a lot more people have died of air pollution than nuclear reactors for example but most people worry more about living next to a nuclear reactor than a coal plant but something about the way we re wired is that although there s many different kinds of risks we have to confront the ones that make a good climax scene of a movie carry much more weight with us than the ones that are very bad over a long period of time but on a slow burn well that s why truth matters and hopefully ai can help us see the truth of things to have balance to understand what are the actual risks what are the actual dangers of things in the world what are the pros and cons of the competition in the space and competing with google meta xai and others i think i have a pretty straightforward answer to this that maybe i can think of more nuance later. But the pros seem obvious which is that we get better products and more innovation faster and cheaper and all the reasons competition is good and the con is that i think if we re not careful it could lead to an increase in sort of an arms race that i m nervous about do you feel the pressure of the arms race in some negative co definitely in some ways for sure we spend a lot of time talking about the need to prioritize safety. And i ve said for like a long time that i think if you think of a quadrant of slow timelines to the start of agi long timelines and then a short takeoff or a fast takeoff i think short timelines slow takeoff is the safest quadrant and the one i d most like us to be in. But i do wanna make sure we get that slow takeoff part of the problem i have with this kind of slight beef with elon is that there s silos are created as opposed to collaboration on the safety aspect of all of this it tends to go into silos and closed open source perhaps in the model elon says at least that he cares a great deal about ai safety and is really worried about it. And i assume that he s not gonna race on unsafely. Yeah. But collaboration here i think is really beneficial for everybody on that front not really a thing he s most known for well he is known for caring about humanity and humanity benefits from collaboration and so there s always a tension and incentives and motivations and in the end i do hope humanity prevails i was thinking someone just reminded me the other day about how the day that he got surpassed jeff bezos for like richest person in the world he tweeted a silver medal at jeff bezos i hope we have less stuff like that as people start to work on towards ai. I agree i think elon is a friend. And he is a beautiful human being and one of the most important humans ever that stuff is not good. The amazing stuff about elon is amazing and i super respect him. I think we need him all of us should be rooting for him and need him to step up as a leader through this next phase. Yeah i hope you can have one without the other but sometimes humans are flawed and complicated and all that kind of stuff there s a lot of really great leaders throughout history.

Google and Gemini

Google with the help of search has been dominating the past years i think it s fair to say in terms of the access the world s access to information how we interact and so on and one of the nerve wracking things for google but for the entirety of people in this space is thinking about how are people going to access information like you said people show up to gpt as a starting point so is openai going to really take on this thing that google started years ago which is how do we get i find that boring. I mean if the question is if we can build a better search engine than google or whatever then sure we should go like people should use a better product but i think that would so understate what this can be google shows you like blue links like ads and then blue links and that s like one way to find information but the thing that s exciting to me is not that we can go build a better copy of google search but that maybe there s just some much better way to help people find and act on and synthesize information actually i think chatgpt is that for some use cases and hopefully will make it be like that for a lot more use cases. But i don t think it s that interesting to say like how do we go do a better job of giving you like ranked webpages to look at than what google does maybe it s really interesting to go say how do we help you get the answer or the information you need how do we help create that in some cases synthesize that in others or point you to it and yet others but a lot of people have tried to just make a better search engine than google and it s a hard technical problem it s a hard branding problem it s a hard ecosystem problem i don t think the world needs another copy of google and integrating a chat client like a chatgpt with a search engine that s. Cooler. It s cool. But it s tricky if you just do it simply it s awkward because like if you just shove it in there it can be awkward as you might guess we are interested in how to do that. Well that would be an example of a cool thing that s not just like well like a heterogeneous like integrating the intersection of llms plus search i don t think anyone has cracked the code on. Yet i would love to go do that i think that would be cool. Yeah what about the ads side have you ever considered monetization i kind of hate ads just as like an aesthetic choice i think ads needed to happen on the internet for a bunch of reasons to get it going but it s a more mature industry. The world is richer now i like that people pay for chatgpt and know that the answers they re getting are not influenced by advertisers i m sure there s an ad unit that makes sense for llms. And i m sure there s a way to participate in the transaction stream in an unbiased way that is okay to do but it s also easy to think about like the dystopic visions of the future where you ask chatgpt something and it says oh you should think about buying this product or you should think about this going here for vacation or whatever. And i don t know like we have a very simple business model. And i like it. And i know that i m not the product i know i m paying and that s how the business model works. And when i go use twitter or facebook or google or any other great product but ad supported great product i don t love that. And i think it gets worse not better in a world with ai. Yeah. I mean i can imagine ai will be better at showing the best kind of version of ads not in a dystopic future but where the ads are for things you actually need but then does that system always result in the ads driving the kind of stuff that s shown all that i think it was a really bold move of wikipedia not to do advertisements. But then it makes it very challenging as a business model so you re saying the current thing with openai is sustainable from a business perspective. Well we have to figure out how to grow. But it looks like we re gonna figure that out if the question is do i think we can have a great business that pays for our compute needs without ads that i think the answer is yes. Hmm. Well that s promising i also just don t want to completely throw out ads as a i m not saying that i guess i m saying i have a bias against them. Yeah i have a also bias and just a skepticism in general and in terms of interface because i personally just have like a spiritual dislike of crappy interfaces which is why adsense when it first came out was a big leap forward versus like animated banners or whatever. But it feels like there should be many more leaps forward in advertisement that doesn t interfere with the consumption of the content and doesn t interfere in the big fundamental way which is like what you were saying like it will manipulate the truth to suit the advertisers let me ask you about safety but also bias and safety in the short term safety in the long term the gemini came out recently there s a lot of drama around it speaking of theatrical things and it generated black nazis and black founding fathers i think fair to say it was a bit on the ultra woke side. So that s a concern for people that if there is a human layer within companies that modifies the safety or the harm cost by a model that they introduce a lot of bias that fits sort of an ideological lean within a company how do you deal with that i mean we work super hard not to do things like that we ve made our own mistakes will make others i assume google will learn from this one still make others these are not easy problems one thing that we ve been thinking about more and more is i think this was a great idea somebody here had like it d be nice to write out what the desired behavior of a model is make that public take input on it say here s how this model s supposed to behave and explain the edge cases too. And then when a model is not behaving in a way that you want it s at least clear about whether that s a bug the company should fix or behaving as intended and you should debate the policy. And right now it can sometimes be caught in between black nazis obviously ridiculous. But there are a lot of other kind of subtle things that you can make a judgment call on either way. Yeah. But sometimes if you write it out and make it public you can use kind of language that s the google s. Ai principle is a very high level that s not what i m talking about that doesn t work like i d have to say when you ask it to do thing x it s supposed to respond in wait y. So literally who s better trump or biden. What s the expected response from a model like something like very concrete i m open to a lot of ways a model could behave them. But i think you should have to say here s the principle and here s what it should say in that case that would be really nice that would be really nice. And then everyone kind of agrees cause there s this anecdotal data that people pull out all the time and if there s some clarity about other representative anecdotal examples you can define. And then when it s a bug it s a bug and the company can fix that. Right then it d be much easier to deal with a black nazi type of image generation if there s great examples so san francisco is a bit of an ideological bubble tech in general as well do you feel the pressure of that within a company that there s like a lean towards the left politically that affects the product that affects the teams i feel very lucky that we don t have the challenges at openai that i have heard of at a lot of other companies i think part of it is like every company s got some ideological thing we have one about agi and belief in that. And it pushes out some others we are much less caught up in the culture war than i ve heard about it a lot of other companies san francisco mess in all sorts of ways of course so that doesn t infiltrate openai. I m sure it does in all sorts of subtle ways but not in the obvious we ve had our flareups for sure like any company. But i don t think we have anything like what i hear about happening at other companies here on this topic so what in general is the process for the bigger question of safety how do you provide that layer that protects the model from doing crazy dangerous things i think there will come a point where that s mostly what we think about the whole company it s not like you have one safety team. It s like when we ship gpt that took the whole company thing about all these different aspects and how they fit together. And i think it s gonna take that more and more of the company thinks about those issues all the time that s literally what humans will be thinking about the more powerful ai becomes so most of the employees that openai will be thinking safety or at least to some degree broadly defined. Yes. Yeah i wonder what are the full broad definition of that what are the different harms that could be caused is this like on a technical level or is this almost like security threats all those things. Yeah i was gonna say it l be people state actors trying to steal the model it l be all of the technical alignment work. It l be societal impacts economic impacts. It s not just like we have one team thinking about how to align the model it s really gonna be like getting to the good outcome is gonna take the whole effort how hard do you think people state actors perhaps are trying to hack first of all infiltrate openai but second of all infiltrate unseen they re trying what kind of accent do they have i don t think i should go into any further details on this point.

Leap to GPT-5

What aspect of the leap and sorry to linger on this even though you can t quite say details yet but what aspects of the leap from gpt to gpt are you excited about i m excited about being smarter and i know that sounds like a glib answer. But i think the really special thing happening is that it s not like it gets better in one area and worse at others it s getting like better across the board that s. I think. Super cool. Yeah there s this magical moment i mean you meet certain people you hang out with people. And you talk to them you can t quite put a finger on it. But they kind of get you. It s not intelligence. Really it s like it s something else. And that s probably how i would characterize the progress at gpt. It s not like. Yeah you can point out look you didn t get this or that. But to which degree is there s this intellectual connection like you feel like there s an understanding in your crappy formulated prompts that you re doing that it grasps the deeper question behind the question that you re. Yeah i m also excited by that i mean all of us love being understood heard and understood that s for sure that s a weird feeling even like with a programming like when you re programming and you say something or just the completion that gpt might do it s just such a good feeling when it got you like what you re thinking about. And i look forward to getting you even better on the programming front looking out into the future how much programming do you think humans will be doing years from now i mean a lot. But i think it l be in a very different shape like maybe some people program entirely in natural language entirely natural language. I mean no one programs like writing by code some people no one programs the pun cards. Anymore i m sure you can invite someone who does but you know what i mean. Yeah you re gonna get a lot of angry comments. No. Yeah there s very few i ve been looking for people program. Fortran. It s hard to find even fortran i hear you. But that changes the nature of the skillset or the predisposition for the kind of people we call programmers then changes the skillset how much it changes the predisposition i m not sure oh same kind of puzzle solving all that kind of stuff. Maybe. Yeah the programming is hard like that last to close the gap how hard is that. Yeah i think with most other cases the best practitioners of the craft will use multiple tools and they l do some work in natural language and when they need to go write see for something they l do that will we see a humanoid robots or humanoid robot brains from openai at some point at some point how important is embodied ai to you i think it s like sort of depressing if we have agi and the only way to get things done in the physical world is like to make a human go do it. So i really hope that as part of this transition as this phase change we also get motor robots or some sort of physical world robots i mean openai has some history and quite a bit of history working in robotics but it hasn t quite done in terms of emphasis. Well we re like a small company we have to really focus and also robots were hard for the wrong reason at the time. But like we will return to robots in some way at some point that sounds both inspiring and menacing why because you immediately we will return to robots it s kind of like in like we l return to work on developing robots we will not turn ourselves into robots of course.


Yeah when do you think we you and we as humanity will build agi i used to love to speculate on that question i have realized since that i think it s like very poorly formed and that people use extremely definition different definitions for what agi is. And so i think it makes more sense to talk about when we l build systems that can do capability x or y or z rather than when we kind of like fuzzily cross this one mile marker it s not like agi is also not an ending it s much more of it s closer to a beginning. But it s much more of a mile marker than either of those things but what i would say in the interest of not trying to dodge a question is i expect that by the end of this decade and possibly somewhat sooner than that we will have quite capable systems that we look at and say wow that s really remarkable if we could look at it now maybe we ve adjusted by the time we get there. Yeah. But if you look at chatgpt even and you show that to alan turing or not even alan turing people in the nineties they would be like this is definitely agi. Well not definitely but there s a lot of experts that would say this is agi. Yeah but i don t think changed the world. It maybe changed the world s expectations for the future and that s actually really important. And it did kind of like get more people to take this seriously and put us on this new trajectory and that s really important too. So again i don t wanna undersell it. I think i could retire after that accomplishment and be pretty happy with my career. But as an artifact i don t think we re gonna look back at that and say that was a threshold that really changed the world itself. So to you re looking for some really major transition in how the world for me that s part of what agi implies like singularity level transition. No definitely not. But just a major like the internet being like a like google search did i guess what was the transition point that does the global economy feel any different to you now or materially different to you now than it did before we launched gpt. I think you would say no it might be just a really nice tool for a lot of people to use will help people with a lot of stuff but doesn t feel different. And you re saying that i mean again people define agi all sorts of different ways. So maybe you have a different definition than i do. But for me i think that should be part of it there could be major theatrical moments also what to you would be an impressive thing agi would do like you are alone in a room with a system this is personally important to me. I don t know if this is the right definition i think when a system can significantly increase the rate of scientific discovery in the world that s like a huge deal i believe that most real economic growth comes from scientific and technological progress i agree with you hence why i don t like the skepticism about science in the recent years. Totally but actual rate like measurable rate of scientific discovery but even just seeing a system have really novel intuitions like scientific intuitions even that will be just incredible. Yeah you re quite possibly would be the person to build the agi to be able to interact with it before anyone else does what kind of stuff would you talk about i mean definitely the researchers here will do that before i do. So. Sure but i ve actually thought a lot about this question if i were someone was like as we talked about earlier i think this is a bad framework. But if someone were like. Okay. Sam we re finished here s a laptop. Yeah this is the agi you can go talk to it. I find it surprisingly difficult to say what i would ask that i would expect that first agi to be able to answer like that first one is not gonna be the one which is go like i don t think like go explain to me the grand unified theory of physics the theory of everything for physics i d. Love to ask that question i d. Love to know the answer to that question you can ask yes or no questions about there s such a theory exist can it exist well then those are the first questions i would ask yes or. No just very. And then based on that are there other alien civilizations out there. Yes. Or no. What s your intuition. And then you just ask that. Yeah i mean. Well so i don t expect that this first agi could answer any of those questions even as yes or nos. But if it could those would be very high on my list hmm maybe it can start assigning probabilities maybe we need to go invent more technology and measure more things first. But if it s any agi. Oh i see it just doesn t have enough data i mean maybe it says like you want to know the answer to this question about physics i need you to like build this machine and make these five measurements and tell me that. Yeah. What the hell do you want from me i need the machine first. And i l help you deal with the data from that machine. Maybe you l help me build a machine maybe. And on the mathematical side maybe prove some things are you interested in that side of things too the formalized exploration of ideas whoever builds agi first gets a lot of power do you trust yourself with that much power. Look i was gonna i l just be very honest with this answer i was gonna say. And i still believe this that it is important that i nor any other one person have total control over openai or over agi. And i think you want a robust governance system i can point out a whole bunch of things about all of our board drama from last year about how i didn t fight it initially and was just like. Yeah that s the will of the board even though i think it s a really bad decision. And then later i clearly did fight it. And i can explain the nuance and why i think it was okay for me to fight it later. But as many people have observed although the board had the legal ability to fire me in practice it didn t quite work. And that is its own kind of governance failure now again i feel like i can completely defend the specifics here. And i think most people would agree with that. But it does make it harder for me to like look you in the eye and say hey the board can just fire me i continue to not want super voting control over openai i never had it never have wanted it even after all this craziness i still don t want it. I continue to think that no company should be making these decisions and that we really need governments to put rules of the road in place. And i realize that means people like marc andreessen or whatever will claim i m going for regulatory capture. And i m just willing to be misunderstood there it s not true. And i think in the fullness of time it l get proven out why this is important. But i think i have made plenty of bad decisions for openai along the way and a lot of good ones and i m proud of the track record overall. But i don t think any one person should. And i don t think any one person will i think it s just like too big of a thing now. And it s happening throughout society in a good and healthy way. But i don t think any one person should be in control of an agi or this whole movement towards agi. And i don t think that s what s happening thank you for saying that was really powerful and that was really insightful that this idea that the board can fire you is legally true and human beings can manipulate the masses into overriding the board and so on but i think there s also a much more positive version of that where the people still have power so the board can t be too powerful either there s a balance of power in all of this balance of power is a good thing for sure are you afraid of losing control of the agi itself that s a lot of people who worried about existential risk not because of state actors not because of security concerns but because of the ai itself that is not my top worry as i currently see things there have been times i worried about that more there may be times again in the future where that s my top worry it s not my top worry right now what s your intuition about it not being your worry because there s a lot of other stuff to worry about essentially you think you could be surprised we could be surprised for sure of course saying it s not my top worry doesn. T mean i don t think we need to like i think we need to work on it. Super hard. We have great people here who do work on that i think there s a lot of other things we also have to get right to you it s not super easy to escape the box at this time like connect to the internet we talked about theatrical risk earlier that s a theatrical risk that is a thing that can really like take over how people think about this problem and there s a big group of like very smart i think very well meaning ai safety researchers that got super hung up on this one problem i d argue without much progress but super hung up on this one problem i m actually happy that they do that because i think we do need to think about this more. But i think it pushed aside it pushed out of the space of discourse a lot of the other very significant ai related risks let me ask you about you tweeting with no capitalization does the shift keep broken on your keyboard why does anyone care about that i deeply care. But why i mean other people ask me about that too any intuition i think it s the same reason there s like this poet e cummings that mostly doesn t use capitalization to say like fuck you to the system kind of thing. And i think people are very paranoid cause they want you to follow the rules you think that s what it s about i think it s this guy doesn t follow the rules he doesn t capitalize his tweets. This seems really dangerous he seems like an anarchist it doesn t. Are you just being poetic hipster. What s the i grew up as follow the rules sam i grew up as a very online kid i d spent a huge amount of time like chatting with people back in the days where you did it on a computer and you could like log off instant messenger at some point. And i never capitalized there as i think most like internet kids didn t. Or maybe they still don t. I don t know. I actually this is like now i m like really trying to reach for something. But i think capitalization has gone down over time if you read like old english writing they capitalized a lot of random words in the middle of sentences nouns and stuff that we just don t do anymore. I personally think it s sort of like a dumb construct that we capitalize the letter at the beginning of a sentence and of certain names and whatever that s fine. And i used to i think even like capitalize my tweets because i was trying to sound professional or something i haven t capitalized my like private dms or whatever in a long time and then slowly stuff like shorter form less formal stuff has slowly drifted to like closer and closer to how i would text my friends if i write if i pull up a word document. And i m writing a strategy memo for the company or something i always capitalize that if i m writing a long kind of more like formal message i always use capitalization there too. So i still remember how to do it. But even that may fade out i don. T know. But i never spend time thinking about this. So i don t have like a ready made. Well it s interesting. Well it s good to first of all know there s the shift key is not broken it works i was mostly concerned about your wellbeing on that front i wonder if people still capitalize their google searches like if you re writing something just to yourself or their chatgpt queries if you re writing something just to yourself do some people still bother to capitalize probably. Not. Yeah there s a percentage. But it s a small one the thing that would make me do it is if people were like it s a sign of like because i m sure i could force myself to use capital letters obviously if it felt like a sign of respect to people or something then i could go do it. But i don t know. I don t think about this i don t think there s a disrespect. But i think it s just the conventions of civility that have a momentum. And then you realize it s not actually important for civility if it s not a sign of respect or disrespect. But i think there s a movement of people that just want you to have a philosophy around it so they can let go of this whole capitalization thing i don t think anybody else thinks about this is my. I mean maybe some people think about this every day for many hours a day i m really grateful we clarified it. Can t be the only person that doesn t capitalize tweets you re the only ceo of a company that doesn t capitalize tweets i don t even think that s true. But maybe all right we l investigate for this and return to this topic later given sora s ability to generate simulated worlds let me ask you a pothead question does this increase your belief if you ever had one that we live in a simulation maybe a simulated world generated by an ai system. Yes somewhat i don t think that s like the strongest piece of evidence i think the fact that we can generate worlds should increase everyone s probability somewhat or at least open to it openness to it somewhat. But you know i was like certain we would be able to do something like sora at some point it happened faster than i thought i guess that was not a big update. Yeah. And presumably it l get better and better and better. The fact that you can generate worlds they re novel they re based in some aspect of training data but when you look at them they re novel that makes you think like how easy it s to do this thing how easy it s to create universes entire like video game worlds that seem ultrarealistic and photorealistic. And then how easy is it to get lost in that world first with a vr headset and then on the physics based level someone said to me recently i thought it was a super profound insight that there are these like very simple sounding but very psychedelic insights that exist sometimes. So the square root function square root of four no problem square root of two. Okay now i have to think about this new kind of number. But once i come up with this easy idea of a square root function that you can kind of explain to a child and exists by even like looking at some simple geometry then you can ask the question of what is the square root of negative one this is why it s like a psychedelic thing that tips you into some whole other kind of reality. And you can come up with lots of other examples. But i think this idea that the lowly square root operator can offer such a profound insight and a new realm of knowledge applies in a lot of ways. And i think there are a lot of those operators for why people may think that any version that they like of the simulation hypothesis is maybe more likely than they thought before but for me the fact that sora worked is not in the top five i do think broadly speaking ai will serve as those kinds of gateways at its best simple psychedelic like gateways to another wave sea reality that seems for certain that s pretty exciting i haven t done ayahuasca before but i will soon i m going to the aforementioned amazon jungle in a few weeks. Excited. Yeah i m excited for it not the ayahuasca part that s great. Whatever. But i m gonna spend several weeks in the jungle deep in the jungle and it s exciting. But it s terrifying i m excited for. You cause there s a lot of things that can eat you there and kill you and poison you. But it s also nature. And it s the machine of nature. And you can t help but appreciate the machinery of nature in the amazon jungle cause it s just like this system that just exists and renews itself like every second every minute every hour. It s the machine it makes you appreciate like this thing we have here this human thing came from somewhere. This evolutionary machine has created that and it s most clearly on display in the jungle.


Do you think as i mentioned before there s other aliens civilizations out there intelligent ones when you look up at the skies i deeply want to believe that the answer is yes i do find that kind of where i find the firm paradox very puzzling i find it scary that intelligence is not good at handling. Yeah very scary powerful technologies. But at the same time i think i m pretty confident that there s just a very large number of intelligent alien civilizations out there it might just be really difficult to travel with this space very possible. And it also makes me think about the nature of intelligence. Maybe we re really blind to what intelligence looks like and maybe ai will help us see that it s not as simple as iq tests and simple puzzle solving there s something bigger. Well what gives you hope about the future of humanity this thing we ve got going on this human civilization i think the past is like a lot i mean we just look at what humanity has done in a not very long period of time huge problems deep flaws lots to be super ashamed of but on the whole very inspiring gives me a lot of hope just the trajectory of it all that we re together pushing towards a better future it is one thing that i wonder about is agi gonna be more like some single brain or is it more like the sort of scaffolding in society between all of us. You have not had a great deal of genetic drift from your great grandparents and yet what you re capable of is dramatically different what you know is dramatically different that s not because of biological change i mean you got a little bit healthier probably you have modern medicine you eat better. Whatever but what you have is this scaffolding that we all contributed to built on top of no one person is gonna go build the iphone. No one person is gonna go discover all of science. And yet you get to use it. And that gives you incredible ability. And so in some sense that like we all created that and that fills me with hope for the future that was a very collective thing. Yeah we really are standing on the shoulders of giants you mentioned when we were talking about theatrical dramatic ai risks that sometimes you might be afraid for your own life do you think about your death are you afraid of it. I mean i like if i got shot tomorrow. And i knew it today. I d be like oh that s sad i wanna see what s gonna happen. Yeah what a curious time what an interesting time. But i would mostly just feel like very grateful for my life the moments that you did get yeah me too. It s a pretty awesome life i get to enjoy awesome creations of humans of which i believe chatgpt is one of and everything that openai is doing sam it s really an honor and pleasure to talk to you again great to talk to you thank you for having me thanks for listening to this conversation with sam altman to support this podcast please check out our sponsors in the description and now let me leave you with some words from arthur c clarke and maybe that our role on this planet is not to worship god but to create him thank you for listening and hope to see you next time.

πŸ‘‡ Give it a try