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What the heck happened at OpenAI?
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What the heck happened at OpenAI?

A conversation with Robert Wright about OpenAI, self-driving cars, and more.
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I’m a long-time fan of Robert Wright, a journalist and author who writes about topics from foreign policy to human psychology. Recently Bob has become intensely interested in AI, and he’s had me on his podcast a couple of times this year. We enjoyed those conversations so much that we’ve decided to make them a regular feature.

So for the next few months (and maybe longer!) I’ll be a recurring guest on his podcast, and each episode will also be published here. The first half of each episode is available to everyone, while the second half is exclusively for paying subscribers to Understanding AI or Bob’s newsletter, Nonzero.

Today’s episode is an in-depth postmortem of Sam Altman’s ouster from, and subsequent return to, OpenAI. We discussed the possible reasons for Altman’s firing, the implications for OpenAI’s future, and why I’m skeptical of existential risk concerns. Near the end we discuss Kyle Vogt’s ouster from Cruise and its implications for self-driving technology.

There are two ways you can listen. One is to subscribe to Understanding AI as a podcast. Instructions for doing that are here.

Alternatively you can watch the conversation as an embedded video. The free portion of the conversation is available as a video right here:

The second half of the conversation is exclusively for paying subscribers. If that’s you you’ll see it below. Otherwise, please consider upgrading! (If you’re not a paid subscriber you also missed out on Tuesday’s post about AI and jobs.)

Listen to this episode with a 7-day free trial

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Timothy B Lee
Robert Wright