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Sam Altman warns of AI risks, calls for an overseeing agency at the World Government Summit

Altman warned against "very subtle societal misalignments" that could lead to unforeseen consequences

Sam Altman warns of AI risks, calls for an overseeing agency at the World Government Summit
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Artificial Intelligence (AI) was one of the highlights at this year’s World Government Summit (WGS) in Dubai. While concerns about the tech remain, huge investments demonstrate the potential for responsible innovation and global collaboration. 

Speaking at the summit via a video call, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, raised concerns about AI. While acknowledging the potential benefits, Altman warned against “very subtle societal misalignments” that could lead to unforeseen consequences. 

“I’m not that interested in the killer robots walking on the street direction of things going wrong,” Altman said. “I’m much more interested in the very subtle societal misalignments where we just have these systems out in society, and through no particular ill intention, things just go horribly wrong.” 

The UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Omar al-Olama, moderated the discussion with Altman.

He called for a global body like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to oversee AI development and mitigate potential risks. Altman also emphasized the need for international collaboration to address the challenges and opportunities posed by AI. 

He believes the industry shouldn’t be solely responsible for regulations but rather contribute to educating leaders about the potential consequences of various approaches. “We need a global system,” he stated, advocating for open discussion and an eventual action plan with global buy-in. 

Meanwhile, on the summit’s sidelines, the UAE’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) announced a significant investment in AI research: a whopping $500 million. This initiative includes a $200 million program to share cutting-edge technology with developing countries and a $300 million non-profit dedicated to open-source AI development. 

Faisal Al-Bannai, secretary-general of the UAE’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), emphasized their commitment to “empower every nation with the means to thrive in this technology-driven world. “The ATRC stands ready to partner with countries worldwide, leveraging our expertise in technology to address their challenges and drive collective progress in the AI-driven era.” 

The newly formed ATRC Global Tech R&D Platform will facilitate international collaboration in six sectors: aerospace and space, food and agriculture, healthcare, safety and security, sustainability, environment and energy, and transport.

The Innovation By Design Summit is in Doha on April 24. Attendance at the summit is by invitation only. Delegates can register here to receive their exclusive invite.

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