The artificial intelligence (AI) space has exploded in 2023. Here, we reflect on the artificial intelligence pause that did not happen, a lawsuit that might change the whole AI space And the Sam Altman firing and rehiring saga.
Based on the numbers, OpenAI’s ChatGPT is the most popular AI tool in the world today. It was launched on November 30, 2022, and exploded to 100 million monthly users within its first three months.
On its first anniversary, ChatGPT now records an impressive 100 million weekly users, and according to Google Trends data, it is now at the height of its global popularity.
In only 12 Months, ChatGPT’s existence has contributed to narratives that surround the extinction of humankind, allegations that OpenAI developed it by supposedly committing mass-scale copyright infringement, and a tumultuous CEO firing and rehiring that pundits are still trying to understand.
ChatGPT’s Existential Threat To Humanity
In March 2023, thousands of researchers, CEOs, pundits, and academics involved in the field of artificial intelligence signed an open letter, that called on AI developers in the entire world to suspend the development of any AI networks that are more powerful than GPT-4 for six months. At the time, they shared concerns that “human-competitive intelligence can pose profound risks to society and humanity,” among many other things.
While the efficacy and viability of a global, self-imposed pause on AI development is being discussed, the letter had nearly no significant impact on the nascent sector. OpenAI and its competitors, including Google, Anthropic, and Elon Musk – one of the most vocal signatories for the pause in development – continued developing their respective artificial intelligence projects throughout 2023.
For example, in the case of Musk, his chatbot and self-professed ChatGPT competitor, Grok, was launched about six months to the day after the Tesla boss signed the letter.
A Lawsuit That Threatens ChatGPT’s Existence
A class-action lawsuit that involves a group of authors, including George R. R. Martin and John Grisham, got underway in September 2023. The outcome of this specific case could, ultimately, have a massive impact on the field of artificial intelligence.
These authors are suing OpenAI for alleged copyright infringement. They say the company violated copyright by Training ChatGPT on their works without crediting, licensing, or permission. By doing that, says the lawyers representing them, OpenAI jeopardized their livelihood. They now seek damages of up to $150,000 for every piece of work where copyright is infringed.
Why does it matter?
While these fines might be massive subject to the number of individual books the plaintiffs allege were illegally used to train ChatGPT, the more important issue will be whether OpenAI and other firms can keep training on the data scraped from the entire internet.
It is possibly beyond the scope of this case to determine the future of ChatGPT, but a ruling in favor of the plaintiff may set a precedent that eventually restricts a firm’s ability to monetize publicly available data. This might, hypothetically, work as a poison pill for many language models, by and large, since the scale of a model’s data set has thus far been among the most determinant factors that govern its capabilities.
Related:What Is AI Ethics?
Who Is The Top Executive At OpenAI?
In the meantime, OpenAI’s board seems to have committed 2023’s largest unforced error in executive hiring and firings.
Within just four days, the firm’s board of directors managed to fire CEO and co-founder Sam Altman. They replaced him with chief technology officer Mira Murati, then replaced Murati with former Twitch boss Emmett Shear, and then eventually rehired Sam Altman to replace Shear amid a major board shakeup.