Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Just to gauge 2023 AI’s ongoing capabilities, contradictions, and chaos, look to OpenAI, the technology’s most high-profile champion. OpenAI set the tone for 2023 in November 2022 by launching ChatGPT, the versatile chatbot that drove AI into the public conversation and initiated a worldwide race to develop more powerful models. The company ended the year by abruptly firing its CEO, Sam Altman, and then bringing him back five days later with a new board of directors, seemingly consolidating power at the helm. The launching of ChatGPT and the feeding frenzy that ensued worried policymakers worldwide. Governments in the United States, Europe, and China quickly sought to impose regulatory guardrails around AI, and multilateral efforts aimed to widen them. There is legitimate concern that AI has the potential to reshape economics, society, and democracy globally, as well as significant military applications. AI’s development race is not only occurring between companies but also nations. China has aspired to become a global AI leader by the end of the decade and has made significant progress in various domains. Concerns have been raised about how much influence large companies have over AI’s development and oversight. The biggest questions about AI in 2024 are whether regulations can be effective and adaptable enough to keep up with rapidly evolving capabilities—and whether countries worldwide can agree on those guardrails. With national elections in many of the world’s biggest democracies next year, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

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