[The original question was “Is OpenAI increasing the existential risks related to AI?” I changed it to the current one following a discussion with Rohin in the comments. It clarifies that my question asks about the consequences of OpenAI’s work will assuming positive and aligned intentions.]
This is a question I’ve been asked recently by friends interested in AI Safety and EA. Usually this question comes from discussions around GPT-3 and the tendency of OpenAI to invest a lot in capabilities research.
[Following this answer by Vaniver, I propose for a baseline/counterfactual the world where OpenAI doesn’t exists but the researchers there still do.]
Yet I haven’t seen it discussed here. Is it a debate we failed to have, or has there already been some discussion around it? I found a post from 3 years ago, but I think the situation probably changed in the meantime.
A couple of arguments for and against to prompt your thinking:
OpenAI is increasing the existential risks related to AI because:
They are doing far more capability research than safety research;
They are pushing the state of the art of capability research;
Their results will motivate many people to go work on AI capabilities, whether out of wonder or out of fear of unemployment.
OpenAI is not increasing the existential risks related to AI because:
They have a top-notch safety team;
They restrict the access to their models, by either not releasing them outright (GPT-2) or bottlenecking access through their API (GPT-3);
Their results are showing the potential dangers of AI, and pushing many people to go work on AI safety.Is OpenAI increasing the existential risks related to AI?