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OpenAI Is Just Facebook Now

The Atlantic [unpaywalled] “Facing one controversy after the next, the artificial-intelligence company enters a new phase. OpenAI appears to be in the midst of a months-long revolt from within. The latest flash point came yesterday, when a group of 11 current and former employees—plus two from other firms—issued a public letter declaring that leading AI companies are not to be trusted. “The companies are behaving in a way that is really not in the public interest,” William Saunders, a signatory who, like several others on the letter, left OpenAI earlier this year, told me. The letter tells a familiar story of corporate greed: AI could be dangerous, but tech companies are sacrificing careful safety procedures for speedy product launches; government regulation can’t keep up, and employees are afraid to speak out. Just last month, Vox reported on a nondisclosure and non-disparagement agreement that OpenAI employees were asked to sign upon leaving the company. Violators risk losing all their vested equity in the company, which can amount to millions of dollars—providing a clear reason for workers to remain silent, even about issues of significant societal concern. (An OpenAI spokesperson told me in an emailed statement that all former employees have been released from the non-disparagement clause, and that such an obligation has been scrubbed from future offboarding paperwork.)…”

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