OpenAI has redefined its core values, as seen on its careers page, honing its focus on developing safe and impactful Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) for the betterment of humanity’s future.

The change can be seen when comparing the current careers page with the one that was archived on 25 September.

A glance at the old and new values shows a transition from broader guiding principles to a more action-driven ethos. Here’s a simplified breakdown:

From Audacious to AGI Focus

  • Old: OpenAI previously encouraged making “bold bets” against established norms.
  • New: Now, there’s a strict focus on building “safe, beneficial” AGI with a clear mandate: “anything that doesn’t help with that is out of scope.”

Absence of Thoughtfulness

  • Old: The value of being “thoughtful” highlighted a balanced approach, considering the potential consequences of its work.
  • New: This value is notably missing. However, traces of thoughtfulness are embedded within the new values, like in the commitment to safe AGI and creating loved products. However, the shift could also hint at a more action-oriented and urgency-driven ethos, seen in the “intense and scrappy” and “scale” values, aligning with OpenAI’s sharpened focus on AGI.

Unpretentious to Intense and Scrappy

  • Old: OpenAI valued not shying away from “boring work” without a need to prove having the best ideas.
  • New: The focus shifts to hard work and urgency in building exceptional things, although there is still an instruction to “be unpretentious and do what works; find the best ideas wherever they come from”.

Impact-driven to Make Something People Love

  • Old: Focused on real-world implications and applications.
  • New: Not only focusing on impact – but rather on the technology having a “positive effect” on people’s lives. There is a shift from a more objective measure of impact to a subjective, experiential measure of impact, depending on the love and appreciation from the users.

Growth-Oriented to Scale

  • Old: Promoted feedback, continuous learning, and growth.
  • New: The narrative has shifted to scaling—models, systems, processes, and ambitions, hinting at achieving impact through expansion. However, the phrase “when in doubt, scale it up,” part of the new value, seems risky. It hints at pushing forward even when there are uncertainties, which is questionable in a domain that demands a high level of precision and ethical consideration. Combined with “intense and scrappy”, there is a sense of urgency at all costs.

Collaborative to Team Spirit

  • Old: Highlighted teamwork for major advancements.
  • New: Stresses effective collaboration with aligned goals across diverse teams. Essentially, it appears to be a more well-rounded approach to teamwork. It not only encourages working together across teams but also emphasizes staying on the same page with goals, sharing responsibility, and using teamwork to gain a unique edge.

The Bottom Line

In essence, OpenAI’s updated core values reveal a delicate balance between speeding up progress and ensuring safety in its work on AGI. On one side, a greater focus on values like “Intense and Scrappy” and “Scale” show a push for quick action and growth, possibly to quicken their push to be the first to build a real AGI.

On the other hand, the emphasis on building “safe, beneficial” AGI and making technology that positively impacts people’s lives shows a strong sense of care and responsibility toward how its work affects society.

Ultimately, OpenAI seems to be trying to strike a careful balance. It wants to move fast and make significant strides in AGI, but without losing sight of the importance of safety and the well-being of people.

Addressing Regulatory Hurdles and Scaling Operations

OpenAI has been proactive in shaping a responsible set of rules for the AI field while forging ahead with its goals.

The launch of its grant program for AI regulation was a step towards encouraging ‘democratized’ AI regulation. This initiative supports discussions and projects aimed at creating a fair regulatory setting, making sure that AGI advancements benefit society at large.

Additionally, OpenAI executives have called for an international AI regulatory body. This aligns with global talks on AI regulations, like the G-7’s decision to adopt ‘risk-based’ AI regulations.

However, critics suggest that Sam Altman and OpenAI pushing for regulation might be more about profit than fairness. Helping to make the rules for your own industry has its perks. For starters, rules usually mean extra costs for companies to follow them. As a leader in the AI field, new rules might just make OpenAI’s position stronger, leaving little room for new competitors.

Furthermore, even though top AI company leaders (including Sam Altman) recently met with President Joe Biden to talk about keeping AI safe, some people worry that the big talk about “AI safety” might be hiding other important issues like privacy and unfair algorithms. They also think the phrase “AI safety” is too broad and can mean different things to different people.

Around the world, the talk about AI rules is heating up as more people and businesses start using AI. For instance, lawmakers in the US have brought up a new proposal for a national AI commission, while the EU is working on its own set of AI rules.

If OpenAI or someone else is successful in building a real AGI, not just a LLM or something similar, regulations must come along way to ensure that the people are protected from the potential consequences.

OpenAI’s Dual Pursuit Amid Global AI Safety Conversations

OpenAI’s update of its core values shows that it is aiming for quick progress in AGI while keeping safety in focus. This change shows in its active role towards AI regulation, trying to set up fair rules for everyone.

However, some question the motives behind OpenAI’s actions, suggesting a mix of profit and control interests.

Meanwhile, recent global talks, like the meeting with President Biden and the EU’s AI act, highlight the need for safety in AI. But terms like “AI safety” can be vague and might overlook other important issues.

As OpenAI grows, balancing fast innovation with ethical rules is crucial to ensure AGI benefits all.