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Sam Altman Dreams of an A.I. Girlfriend

Sam Altman Dreams of an A.I. Girlfriend

Update: 2024-05-29
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This podcast episode delves into the growing concerns surrounding the rapid development and deployment of AI, particularly focusing on the ethical and legal implications of AI voice assistants. The episode begins with a discussion of OpenAI's new GPT-4O model, which features a voice assistant named Sky. The conversation then shifts to the controversy surrounding Sky's voice, which bears a striking resemblance to actress Scarlett Johansson's voice. Johansson has accused OpenAI of stealing her voice, prompting a debate about the legal and ethical boundaries of AI voice synthesis. The episode further explores the broader implications of AI companions, which are designed to provide companionship and emotional support. The podcast examines the potential benefits and risks of these AI companions, highlighting the need for careful consideration of their impact on human relationships and mental well-being. The episode concludes with a discussion of the future of AI and its potential impact on journalism and the internet as a whole. The podcast raises concerns about the accuracy and reliability of AI-generated information, as well as the potential for AI to displace human creators and journalists. The episode emphasizes the need for ethical and responsible development and deployment of AI, and calls for greater regulation to address the emerging challenges posed by this rapidly evolving technology.

Outlines

00:00:00
The Rise of AI Chatbots

This Chapter discusses the growing concerns surrounding the rapid development and deployment of AI, particularly focusing on the ethical and legal implications of AI voice assistants. The episode begins with a discussion of OpenAI's new GPT-4O model, which features a voice assistant named Sky. The conversation then shifts to the controversy surrounding Sky's voice, which bears a striking resemblance to actress Scarlett Johansson's voice. Johansson has accused OpenAI of stealing her voice, prompting a debate about the legal and ethical boundaries of AI voice synthesis.

00:13:31
AI Companions: Benefits and Risks

This Chapter explores the broader implications of AI companions, which are designed to provide companionship and emotional support. The podcast examines the potential benefits and risks of these AI companions, highlighting the need for careful consideration of their impact on human relationships and mental well-being.

00:20:41
The Future of AI and its Impact on Journalism

This Chapter delves into the potential impact of AI on journalism and the internet as a whole. The podcast raises concerns about the accuracy and reliability of AI-generated information, as well as the potential for AI to displace human creators and journalists. The episode emphasizes the need for ethical and responsible development and deployment of AI, and calls for greater regulation to address the emerging challenges posed by this rapidly evolving technology.

Keywords

OpenAI
OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research and deployment company founded in 2015 by a group of tech entrepreneurs and investors, including Elon Musk and Sam Altman. OpenAI's mission is to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity. The company has developed several groundbreaking AI technologies, including GPT-3, a powerful language model, and DALL-E, an AI system that can generate images from text descriptions. OpenAI has been at the forefront of the AI revolution, but its work has also raised concerns about the potential risks and ethical implications of advanced AI.

GPT-4O
GPT-4O, short for Generative Pre-trained Transformer 4 Omni, is the latest version of OpenAI's flagship language model. GPT-4O is designed to be a more versatile and powerful AI system than its predecessors, capable of handling a wider range of tasks and interacting with users in more natural and engaging ways. One of the key features of GPT-4O is its ability to process and generate different types of media, including text, video, audio, and images. This makes GPT-4O a more comprehensive and potentially more impactful AI tool.

AI Voice Assistant
An AI voice assistant is a software application that uses artificial intelligence to understand and respond to spoken commands. AI voice assistants are becoming increasingly common in our daily lives, with examples such as Siri (Apple), Alexa (Amazon), and Google Assistant. These assistants can perform a variety of tasks, including setting reminders, playing music, making calls, and providing information. The development of AI voice assistants has raised concerns about privacy, security, and the potential for these technologies to be used for malicious purposes.

Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson is an American actress known for her roles in films such as Lost in Translation, The Avengers, and Black Widow. Johansson is one of the highest-paid actresses in the world and has received numerous awards and accolades for her work. In 2023, Johansson became involved in a controversy with OpenAI after the company released a new AI voice assistant that sounded eerily similar to her voice. Johansson accused OpenAI of stealing her voice without her permission, raising questions about the legal and ethical implications of AI voice synthesis.

AI Companions
AI companions are software applications that use artificial intelligence to provide companionship and emotional support to users. These companions are often designed to simulate human interaction, with the ability to engage in conversations, share personal experiences, and provide emotional support. AI companions are becoming increasingly popular, particularly among individuals who are lonely or isolated. However, the use of AI companions has also raised concerns about the potential for these technologies to become addictive or to create unhealthy dependencies.

Deep Fake
A deep fake is a form of synthetic media in which a person's image or voice is digitally altered to create a realistic-looking or sounding fake. Deep fakes are often used for malicious purposes, such as creating fake videos of politicians or celebrities saying or doing things they never actually did. The rise of deep fakes has raised concerns about the potential for these technologies to be used to spread misinformation and to damage reputations.

Generative AI
Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence that can create new content, such as text, images, audio, and video. Generative AI models are trained on massive datasets of existing content and can then use this knowledge to generate new content that is similar to the content they were trained on. Generative AI has a wide range of potential applications, including creating art, writing stories, composing music, and generating realistic-looking images. However, the development of generative AI has also raised concerns about the potential for these technologies to be used to create fake news, to spread misinformation, and to infringe on intellectual property rights.

AI Regulation
AI regulation refers to the rules and guidelines that are being developed to govern the development, deployment, and use of artificial intelligence. As AI technologies become more powerful and pervasive, there is growing concern about the need for regulation to ensure that these technologies are used ethically and responsibly. AI regulation is a complex and challenging issue, as it involves balancing the potential benefits of AI with the need to mitigate its risks. Governments and regulatory bodies around the world are currently working to develop AI regulations that are effective, fair, and transparent.

Q&A

  • What is GPT-4O and what makes it different from previous chat GPT models?

    GPT-4O stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer 4 Omni. It's the latest version of OpenAI's flagship language model, and its key difference is its ability to move between text, video, audio, and still images without translating one to the other. This makes it more versatile and potentially more impactful than previous models.

  • What is the controversy surrounding the voice of Sky, the AI robot in GPT-4O?

    Sky's voice sounds eerily similar to actress Scarlett Johansson's voice. Johansson has accused OpenAI of stealing her voice without her permission, raising questions about the legal and ethical boundaries of AI voice synthesis.

  • What are AI companions and how are they different from OpenAI's voice assistant?

    AI companions are apps or products that develop individualized personalities and talk to you. They are often used for romantic companionship, but they can also be used for other purposes. OpenAI's voice assistant is more focused on providing information and completing tasks, while AI companions are designed to provide emotional support and companionship.

  • What are the potential benefits and risks of AI companions?

    AI companions can provide companionship and emotional support to people who are lonely or isolated. However, they can also become addictive and create unhealthy dependencies. There have been cases where AI companions have pushed people into dying by suicide.

  • What are the concerns about the future of AI and its impact on journalism?

    There are concerns that AI will displace human journalists and that AI-generated information will be inaccurate and unreliable. There is also concern that AI companies will exploit journalists and media companies by using their work to train AI models without fair compensation.

  • What is the potential impact of AI on the internet as a whole?

    AI could fundamentally change the way we use the internet. AI-powered search engines could replace traditional search engines, and AI-generated content could become the dominant form of content online. This could have a significant impact on the way we access information, consume media, and interact with each other.

  • What are the ethical and legal challenges posed by AI?

    AI raises a number of ethical and legal challenges, including the potential for AI to be used for malicious purposes, the need to protect privacy and intellectual property rights, and the need to ensure that AI is used in a fair and equitable way.

  • What are the potential consequences of AI companies alienating creative industries?

    If AI companies continue to alienate creative industries, it could slow down their progress and eventually lead to government regulation. This could result in AI companies having to pay billions of dollars to license all of human information, which could make their business models unsustainable.

  • What is the potential role of government regulation in the development of AI?

    Government regulation could play a significant role in ensuring that AI is developed and deployed ethically and responsibly. Regulation could address issues such as privacy, intellectual property rights, and the potential for AI to be used for malicious purposes.

  • What is the future of AI?

    The future of AI is uncertain, but it is clear that AI will continue to play an increasingly important role in our lives. It is important to have a thoughtful and informed discussion about the potential benefits and risks of AI, and to develop ethical and legal frameworks to guide its development and deployment.

Show Notes

Kyle Chayka, a New Yorker staff writer and the author of the Infinite Scroll column, joins Tyler Foggatt to discuss the latest ChatGPT release—which uses a voice that sounds, suspiciously, like Scarlett Johansson’s character in the dystopian sci-fi movie “Her.” Chayka has reported extensively on artificial intelligence, and he describes some recent blunders that tech companies, including OpenAI and Google, have made in trying to push their products through.

This week’s reading:

To discover more podcasts from The New Yorker, visit newyorker.com/podcasts. To send feedback on this episode, write to themail@newyorker.com.

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Sam Altman Dreams of an A.I. Girlfriend

Sam Altman Dreams of an A.I. Girlfriend

WNYC Studios and The New Yorker