Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, sees “a lot of value” in AI illusions

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Sam Altman Marc Benioff Salesforce Dreamforce 2023

Sam Altman (left) with Salesforce’s Marc Benioff at Dreamforce 2023. Image: Salesforce

AI illusions have become one of the strongest negative talking points when it comes to the rollout of new technologies. But according to Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, this is actually an advantage.

AI illusions occur when large language models (LLM) give false information. This is a big problem we’ve seen consistently since generative AI became popular, especially after the release of ChatGPT last year.

Chatbots have been considered unreliable—certainly not infallible—because of their potential to deliver false information. Businesses need to be especially cautious as they introduce generative AI into their workplaces. Or in some cases, when employees present it without the knowledge of their employers.

But the CEO of OpenAI — the creator of ChatGPT — offered a different view at Salesforce’s Dreamforce event this week.

“One of the things that isn’t clear is that a lot of the value from these systems has to do with the fact that they’re illusory,” Altman said in an interview with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.

“If you want to find something in the database, we already have good content for that.

“These AI systems can come up with new ideas and be creative—that’s a power.”

Altman linked AI hallucinations to the creative realm and was one of the first to be disrupted by generative AI. He admits to being surprised at first, assuming decades ago that it would be physical and then cognitive functions that would be affected before creativity.

According to Sam Altman, LLM presenting information in a different way – which most people would call ‘inappropriate’ – can be considered creativity.

It’s certainly an interesting perspective. And there is something in it. LLMs can identify subtle correlations and details in datasets. And if it tries to fill gaps in data, illusions can be detailed, complex, and potentially learnable.

Still, given how aggressively AI is being adopted in the workplace, organizations will value things like accuracy and productivity a bit more than AI’s ability to be “creative.” At least in the beginning of this game.

During the same interview, Altman commented that AI tools will make better art than we’ve ever seen before.

Artists who have seen their work used without LLM’s permission may have a different opinion.

The author traveled to San Francisco as a guest of Salesforce.

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