Sunday, December 3, 2023

Cage Match in the Valley 1: Many men enter, one man leaves.

Cade Metz, Karen Weise, Nico Grant and Mike Isaac, Ego, Fear and Money: How the A.I. Fuse Was Lit, December 3, 2023:

The question of whether artificial intelligence will elevate the world or destroy it — or at least inflict grave damage — has framed an ongoing debate among Silicon Valley founders, chatbot users, academics, legislators and regulators about whether the technology should be controlled or set free.

That debate has pitted some of the world’s richest men against one another: Mr. Musk, Mr. Page, Mark Zuckerberg of Meta, the tech investor Peter Thiel, Satya Nadella of Microsoft and Sam Altman of OpenAI. All have fought for a piece of the business — which one day could be worth trillions of dollars — and the power to shape it.

At the heart of this competition is a brain-stretching paradox. The people who say they are most worried about A.I. are among the most determined to create it and enjoy its riches. They have justified their ambition with their strong belief that they alone can keep A.I. from endangering Earth.

Mr. Musk and Mr. Page stopped speaking soon after the party that summer. A few weeks later, Mr. Musk dined with Mr. Altman, who was then running a tech incubator, and several researchers in a private room at the Rosewood hotel in Menlo Park, Calif., a favored deal-making spot close to the venture capital offices of Sand Hill Road.

That dinner led to the creation of a start-up called OpenAI later in the year. Backed by hundreds of millions of dollars from Mr. Musk and other funders, the lab promised to protect the world from Mr. Page’s vision.

Thanks to its ChatGPT chatbot, OpenAI has fundamentally changed the technology industry and has introduced the world to the risks and potential of artificial intelligence. OpenAI is valued at more than $80 billion, according to two people familiar with the company’s latest funding round, though Mr. Musk and Mr. Altman’s partnership didn’t make it. The two have since stopped speaking.

Altman goes on to make a Girardian point:

“There is disagreement, mistrust, egos,” Mr. Altman said. “The closer people are to being pointed in the same direction, the more contentious the disagreements are. You see this in sects and religious orders. There are bitter fights between the closest people.”

There's much more at the link: Eliezer Yudkowsky (matchmaker to the stars), Demis Hassibis, DeepMind, Geoffrey Hinton, Microsoft, Bill Gates, Mark Zukerberg, Yan LeCun, Sergi Brin, Eric Schmidt, Darlo Amodei, Anthropic, the names keep coming moths to light.

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