AI will be fine regardless of who wins White House

Sam Altman, chief executive officer of OpenAI, at the Hope Global Forums annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, US, on Monday, Dec. 11, 2023.

Dustin Chambers | Bloomberg | Getty Images

DAVOS, Switzerland — OpenAI founder and CEO Sam Altman said generative artificial intelligence as a sector, and the U.S. as a country are both “going to be fine” no matter who wins the presidential election later this year.

Altman was responding to a question on Donald Trump‘s resounding victory at the Iowa caucus and the public being “confronted with the reality of this upcoming election.”

“I believe that America is gonna be fine, no matter what happens in this election. I believe that AI is going to be fine, no matter what happens in this election, and we will have to work very hard to make it so,” Altman said this week in Davos during a Bloomberg House interview at the World Economic Forum.

Trump won the Iowa Republican caucus in a landslide on Monday, setting a new record for the Iowa race with a 30-point lead over his closest rival.

“I think part of the problem is we’re saying, ‘We’re now confronted, you know, it never occurred to us that the things he’s saying might be resonating with a lot of people and now, all of a sudden, after his performance in Iowa, oh man.’ That’s a very like Davos thing to do,” Altman said.

“I think there has been a real failure to sort of learn lessons about what’s kind of like working for the citizens of America and what’s not.”

Part of what has propelled leaders like Trump to power is a working class electorate that resents the feeling of having been left behind, with advances in tech widening the divide. When asked whether there’s a danger that AI furthers that hurt, Altman responded, “Yes, for sure.”

“This is like, bigger than just a technological revolution … And so it is going to become a social issue, a political issue. It already has in some ways.”

As voters in more than 50 countries, accounting for half the world’s population, head to the polls in 2024, OpenAI this week put out new guidelines on how it plans to safeguard against abuse of its popular generative AI tools, including its chatbot, ChatGPT, as well as DALL·E 3, which generates original images.

“As we prepare for elections in 2024 across the world’s largest democracies, our approach is to continue our platform safety work by elevating accurate voting information, enforcing measured policies, and improving transparency,” the San Francisco-based company wrote in a blog post on Monday.

The beefed-up guidelines include cryptographic watermarks on images generated by DALL·E 3, as well as outright banning the use of ChatGPT in political campaigns.

“A lot of these are things that we’ve been doing for a long time, and we have a release from the safety systems team that not only sort of has moderating, but we’re actually able to leverage our own tools in order to scale our enforcement, which gives us, I think, a significant advantage,” Anna Makanju, vice president of global…

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