In a recent letter addressed to his staff, the CEO of artificial intelligence startup Cohere criticized the “overconfidence” of the effective altruism movement and those who are overly concerned about the threat of artificial intelligence doomsday. As the artificial intelligence […]
In a recent letter addressed to his staff, the CEO of artificial intelligence startup Cohere criticized the “overconfidence” of the effective altruism movement and those who are overly concerned about the threat of artificial intelligence doomsday. As the artificial intelligence industry becomes increasingly divided between those advocating for caution and restraint in technology development and those pushing for rapid progress, tensions have come to the forefront.
Last week, tensions escalated further with the disagreement between OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, and the board members who initially fired him on Friday, only to rehire him five days later. The belief that artificial intelligence could potentially exterminate humanity is a key belief among many effective altruists and has gained significant influence in Silicon Valley and the AI industry over the past decade. OpenAI’s board members were supporters of this philosophy.
In the letter, seen by Bloomberg, Cohere’s CEO, Aidan Gomez, stated that the effective altruism movement, which aims to quantify how to achieve the greatest good for humanity, has become dogmatic and self-righteous. Rather than endorsing extreme measures in the pursuit of their cause, Gomez argues for a more balanced approach. Others have also criticized this philanthropic movement for similar reasons, citing harm, deception, and allegations of misuse resulting from the “ends justify the means” thinking. Gomez emphasized that Cohere is not consumed by apocalyptic tales and terminators. He further criticized the way other AI startups have partnered with cloud service providers, similar to OpenAI’s partnership with Microsoft Corp. “Over the years, we have had the opportunity to receive significant investments from various cloud service providers, but we are not willing to accept money with strings attached, and we will not accept money that needs to be returned to the investor,” Gomez wrote.
A spokesperson for Cohere confirmed the authenticity of the letter and declined further comments.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. What is effective altruism?
Effective altruism is a philosophical approach that seeks to quantify the best actions to achieve the greatest benefit for humanity. This approach involves analyzing different options and making decisions that will have the most positive impact on the world.
2. How has the AI industry become divided on this issue?
Within the AI industry, there is tension between those calling for caution and prudence in technology development and those advocating for rapid progress and maximum utilization of artificial intelligence.
3. Who are effective altruists?
Effective altruists are individuals who believe it is every individual’s responsibility to achieve the greatest good for humanity and strive to find the most effective ways to accomplish that goal.
4. Why did Aidan Gomez’s letter attract media attention?
Aidan Gomez’s letter drew media attention because it critiques effective altruism and excessive concerns about the threat of artificial intelligence doomsday. It also questions the partnerships of other AI companies with cloud service providers.