Who is Sam Altman, the genius responsible for the success of ChatGPT and promoter of generative AI

sam altman is the name of the moment in the technological field (badly despite Elon Musk). Initially crouching after the worldwide success of brands such as OpenAI, Dalle 2 or ChatGPT, his most famous creation, Sam Altman is increasingly exposed to public opinion, embarking on a whirlwind of press conferences, interviews with political leaders and appearances. of all kinds and around the world where those around you are always asking for more information to understand the scope of the current rise of artificial intelligence.

So we thought it was a good time to review his story 😉

Sam Altman: His Early Years

Samuel Harris Altmann He was born in Chicago, Illinois, United States, on April 22, 1985 (he is 38 years old). He grew up in St Louis, Missouri, where he attended John Burroughs High School. He later attended Stanford University, the same one where other geniuses in the digital sector such as Sergey Brin and Larry Page, founders of Google. There he studied computer science, but after a short time he abandoned his studies.

In 2005, at just 19 years old and out of college, decided to start his first technology project and launched Loopt, an application with which users could share their location with friends and get discount coupons from nearby businesses. Although Loopt managed to raise $30 million in venture capital, it closed due to lack of traction and was eventually bought by Green Dot Corporation in 2012 for $43.4 million.

Altman’s next stop was Y Combinatora well-known technology startup accelerator that has participated in projects as important as Airbnb, Dropbox or Coinbase, of which it became a partner in 2011. In 2014, he took over from Paul Graham as company president, a position that allowed him to rub shoulders with important figures like Elon Musk, with whom he would work years later.

Until 2019, Altman was at the helm of the accelerator, when he decided to focus more on OpenAI, the artificial intelligence company he launched in 2015.

Birth and evolution of OpenAI, the great project of Sam Altman

In its beginnings, OpenAI was funded by Altmanplus several prominent Silicon Valley figures and companies, such as (again) Elon Musk, Jessica Livingston, Peter Thiel, and YC Research. By 2015, when the company was launched, it had reached $1 billion from outside funders. With OpenAI, the group had set itself the goal of creating a non-profit organization that was focused on the development of AI in the way that best benefits humanity as a whole.

One year after its release, In April 2016, the company launched Gym, a platform for reinforcement learning research. This allows researchers and developers to compare reinforcement learning systems, systems that teach AI to make better decisions. In December of this same year, they launched Universe, the software platform for training intelligent agents on websites and games.

By 2018, OpenAI announced that Musk he would resign from the company to eliminate possible friction in the future, stemming from the mogul’s focus on AI. In the years that followed, Musk used his Twitter account to express his dissatisfaction with the direction that OpenAI was taking. In fact, in March of this year, he signed, along with other technology experts, a open letter in which he expresses his concern about the impact that AI will have on society and urges that its development be paralyzed for at least six months.

Going back to OpenAI, in 2019, the company abandoned its non-profit status to become a limited profit corporation. This same year, he signed an agreement with Microsoft, in which the company created by Bill Gates invested 1,000 million dollars in exchange for OpenAI licensing its technology exclusively with them. A movement that would become the first of a series of investment operations that would culminate in 2023, when the technology giant announced that it would carry out a multi-year investment of “billions of dollars” in OpenAI with the aim of “accelerating advances in AI and ensuring that these benefits are widely shared with the world”. Although the exact figure of the new investment was not revealed, the US digital media Semafor announced in early January that the total amount would be 10,000 million dollars (9,207 million euros).

But before that, OpenAI kept growing, and releasing new products. So in 2021, OpenAI released dalle-2, an image-from-text generator tool, the first to popularize image-from-text tools worldwide, and at the end of 2022 launched ChatGPT, the text and code generative AI tool that has revolutionized the technological world .

Throughout 2023, it has released several enhanced versions of ChatGPT, the latest being GPT4, a paid version of the tool, plus developer APIs and integrations.

Sam Altman facing the scrutiny of governments and justice

OpenAI senior managers, including Altman, Greg Brockman (President) and Ilya Sutskever (Chief Scientist), recently acknowledged that AI could be compared to nuclear power for the risks it brings to humanity. They stated that AI is likely to surpass expert level skills in almost all domains in the next decade, so it needed to be regulated.

But despite this concern, Sam Altman does not seem very excited about the regulations that governments want to propose. In May he had to appear before the United States Congress, where he was given the task of convincing regulators that he is willing to help find the balance between innovation and the risks that AI entails.

Although during his visit to the Capitol, he called for the United States to be the first country to act and affirmed that AI companies must meet an appropriate set of security requirements, he has called for the regulation to be “flexible enough to adapt to new technological developments.”

Likewise, on his recent visit to the United Kingdom, which is part of a tour of several European countries (Spain among them), he said that he was very concerned about the AI ​​law that will be voted by the European Parliament in a few weeks and stressed “we will try to comply, but if we cannot comply, we will stop operating”.

This warning from Altman comes shortly after governments such as the Italian one decided to hinder the use of its star tool, ChatGPT, due to the doubts generated by the treatment of user data by OpenAI.

Image: LinkedIn Altman

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