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Howard University hosts OpenAI Co-founder Sam Altman for Fireside Chat on AI

On Monday, April 8th, WHUT aired a fireside chat on Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Open AI co-founder Sam Altman as part of its original local series @HOWARD. Moderated by President Ben Vinson III, the conversation dived into the future of AI and proposed one important question: is AI hurtful or helpful?

The utilization of AI has become increasingly prominent over the last few years as new AI technology advances. Displaced jobs, online bias, and misinformation are among the concerns arising as AI becomes more prevalent in today’s society.

According to Altman, AI has the potential to be the greatest technological revolution in the world but requires collaboration from all of society.

“The technology—-clearly—is amazing,” said Altman. "But to get deployed well, it will take the partnership and integration of all society in making sure this is done in an equitable way that lifts everybody,” said Altman.

Founded in 2015, OpenAI is a research organization that focuses on developing safe and beneficial artificial general intelligence for all of humanity.

Amid the biggest technological revolution since the internet, the emergence of AI raises concerns regarding its accuracy and trustworthiness.

During the fireside chat, members of the audience were able to address their AI-related concerns with Altman in a Q&A session.

Howard Alumnus and Reverend Vince Van, M.Div. presented an important question that garnered applause from the audience.

“Fifteen years from now, we’re going to see young people trust AI more than they trust any other thing,” said Van.

“If we’re removing actual history from other places and young people 15 to 20 years from now are going to trust Chat GPT, how do we trust that your company is going to do the work to engage with those historical Black institutions to make sure 15 to 20 years from now that accurate information is on OpenAI,” he continued.

Altman welcomed the conversation, acknowledging the importance of listening to perspectives outside of the sphere of the San Francisco area.

“This is a big part of why we try to get out into the world and talk to people that are not in SF (San Francisco) every day,” said Altman.

According to Altman, there’s a need for diverse perspectives that encompass not only knowledge but culture and context that need to be encoded into AI technology.

“If there are areas we’re missing the mark there now, we’d love to talk about those, but more than that we’d love the input on the principles going forward and how to set up a reliable process to make this work,” said Altman.

The fireside chat included many engaging discussions that offered more information on the role AI will play in the future and how to cater AI to the needs of all individuals.

Watch @HOWARD on demand, via the PBS App or WHUT's YouTube page.

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