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How Elon Musk and Larry Page’s AI Debate Led to OpenAI and an Industry Boom

Dec 04, 2023 -
The article discusses the debate and competition over artificial intelligence (AI) among tech billionaires, including Larry Page, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg. It details the history of AI development, from the founding of DeepMind and its acquisition by Google, to the creation of OpenAI by Musk and others, and the subsequent internal conflicts and departures. The article also highlights the ethical concerns and fears about AI, such as its potential misuse and the risk of it becoming uncontrollable.

The piece further explores the commercialization of AI, with tech companies investing billions in AI research and talent. It mentions the creation of large language models like GPT-3 and GPT-4 by OpenAI, which have significantly impacted the tech industry. The article concludes by noting that the debate over AI's potential benefits and risks continues, with tech giants vying for control over this transformative technology.

Key takeaways:

  • The debate over the risks and benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) has divided some of the world's wealthiest individuals, including Elon Musk, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, Peter Thiel, Satya Nadella, and Sam Altman. These individuals have invested heavily in AI, believing they are best positioned to prevent it from becoming a threat.
  • DeepMind, an AI company founded by Demis Hassabis and later sold to Google, made significant strides in AI development, including creating a machine that could beat one of the world's best players at the game of Go. However, concerns about Google's control over the technology led to the creation of a rival lab, OpenAI, backed by Elon Musk and others.
  • OpenAI, initially a non-profit, later transformed into a commercial operation following a significant investment from Microsoft. The lab developed a large language model, GPT-3, which could generate text on its own. However, disagreements over the direction of the lab led to a group of researchers leaving to form a new lab, Anthropic.
  • OpenAI later developed GPT-4, a system capable of passing an advanced biology test, impressing Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The technology was integrated into Microsoft's online services and led to the release of the ChatGPT chatbot, now used by 100 million people every week.
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