Who is Sam Altman? From college dropout to creator of AI chatbot phenomenon ChatGPT

Who is Sam Altman? From college dropout to creator of AI chatbot phenomenon ChatGPT

Over the past few months, Sam Altman, the father of ChatGPT, has become the hottest face in the AI ​​world.

But his notoriety is not new: he has been in the spotlight of Silicon Valley for nearly two decades already.

Altman entered the tech world as a fresh college dropout in 2005. In the same vein as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, the then 20-year-old quit his computer science degree from the University from Stanford to create a company that allowed users to share their geolocation called Loopt.

With no academic commitment and the future of Loopt in his hands, Altman joined the Y Combinator (YC) – a major tech start-up accelerator that also helped launch Airbnb, Reddit, Dropbox and Coinbase – which helped him to launch. celebrity.

Looptd managed to raise over $30 million (€28 million) in venture capital before being widely adopted by Apple and Blackberry. After seven years, Loopt failed to thrive, and US financial technology and banking holding company, Green Dot Corporation, bought the business for more than 40 million euros.

From the flop to the top

Despite his flop, Loopt allowed Altman to make a name for himself in Silicon Valley. And two years later, he was chosen as the successor to the president of Y Combinator, the American computer scientist Paul Graham.

Three years later, Altman teamed up with Tesla boss Elon Musk, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and other sponsors in 2015 to co-found OpenAI, an IT research and deployment company. intelligence (AI) which aimed to promote and develop “user-friendly AI in a way that benefits all of humanity”.

In 2016, Altman first announced that OpenAI was building an artificial general intelligence (GAI) – an AI that matches the human intellect – known as GPT-1.

On January 5, 2021, OpenAI released DALL-E, an AI capable of generating an image based on a user’s description.

In November 2022, OpenAI launched – to the surprise of its own employees – ChatGPT, one of the most advanced AI models to date: a chatbot capable of generating text on demand using advanced AI, scenarios, lyrics, stories and presentations.

The launch of ChatGPT – which both fascinated and terrified millions – quickly propelled Altman to the forefront of public attention. It also inspired him to meet with politicians and legislators to work on AI security and alignment work.

The future of AI

The founder says that the newest and most advanced versions of ChatGPT will be rolled out very gradually to familiarize people, institutions and policy makers, “think about the implications, feel the technology, get a sense of what it can do and can’t do,” he said.

He thinks the revolution unleashed by “artificial general intelligence” (AIG) is “unstoppable”.

In an essay titled “Moore’s Law for Everything,” Altman wrote that the technological advances AGI will bring over the next 100 years “will be far greater than anything we’ve done since we controlled the fire. and invented the wheel”.

The AI ​​oracle is also known for his selfless efforts. The 37-year-old showed his support for a universal basic income, a policy that would provide a guaranteed minimum income for all citizens, and criticized income inequality in the tech industry.

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