ChatGPT maker OpenAI is offering grants worth Rs 8.27 crore to develop AI rules

OpenAI, the startup renowned for its widely-used ChatGPT chatbot, announced on Thursday its plan to distribute 10 equal grants from a $1 million (Rs 8.27 crore) fund to support experiments in democratic processes. The objective is to determine how AI software should be governed in order to address bias and other critical factors.

The grants, each worth $100,000 (Rs 82.70 lakh), will be awarded to individuals who present compelling frameworks that tackle essential questions surrounding AI, such as whether AI should engage in criticising public figures and how it should consider the “median individual” in the world. OpenAI shared the details of this initiative through a blog post introducing the fund.

Critics have voiced concerns about the inherent biases present in AI systems like ChatGPT, which arise from the inputs used to shape their perspectives. Instances of racist or sexist outputs from AI software have been discovered by users. There is a growing worry that AI, in collaboration with search engines such as Google and Bing, might generate convincingly inaccurate information.

OpenAI, supported by a substantial $10 billion investment from Microsoft, has been at the forefront of advocating for AI regulation. However, the company recently expressed the possibility of withdrawing from the European Union due to proposed regulations that it deemed overly stringent.

OpenAI’s grants, while significant, will not fully cover the expenses of AI research. Salaries for AI engineers and professionals in this rapidly expanding field frequently exceed $100,000.

The startup emphasised that AI systems should benefit all of humanity and strive to be as inclusive as possible. The grant program is viewed as a first step in that direction. OpenAI stated that the outcomes of the funded projects could shape its own stance on AI governance, although any recommendations made would not be binding.

Sam Altman, OpenAI’s CEO, has been a prominent advocate for AI regulation, while simultaneously overseeing the development of new updates for ChatGPT and the image-generator DALL-E. Altman recently appeared before a subcommittee of the US Senate, cautioning that “if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong.”

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Microsoft, with its commitment to integrating AI into its products, has also recently endorsed comprehensive AI regulation. Despite endorsing regulation, major players like Microsoft, OpenAI, Google, and various startups are in a race to offer AI solutions to consumers and businesses.

Virtually every industry has a stake in harnessing AI’s potential to enhance efficiency and reduce labour costs. Simultaneously, concerns persist that AI could disseminate misinformation or propagate factual inaccuracies, which industry insiders refer to as “hallucinations.”

AI has already been responsible for several widely believed hoaxes. A recent example involved a fabricated viral image depicting an explosion near the Pentagon, which briefly impacted the stock market.

Despite the increasing calls for greater regulation, Congress has yet to pass substantial legislation to effectively curtail the power of Big Tech.

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