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OpenAI CEO Sam Altman: “I Don’t Know What Poland Does to Create Such Engineering and Research Talent”

OpenAI fireside chat in Poland with Sam Altman, Wojciech Zaremba, and Szymon Sidor
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On May 23, 2023, an unexpected yet fruitful fireside chat at Warsaw University featured Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, co-founder Wojciech Zaremba, and research scientist, Szymon Sidor. The event was hosted by Ideas NCBR, a Polish-based research and development center operating in AI and the digital economy.

The team’s visit to Poland was part of a global tour to meet users and developers of OpenAI’s platform and gather feedback on what people want from AI. They also met with the prime minister of Poland, discussing the balance between AI opportunities and regulatory approaches, Altman noted.


Poland’s immersive potential for OpenAI and AI industry development

Our recent article outlined Poland as an emerging leading hub for innovation and entrepreneurship in the CEE region and beyond. Yesterday’s fireside chat at Warsaw University dove deeper into the contribution of Poland and the potential of the skilled Polish workforce.

“I don’t know what Poland does as a culture and a system to create such incredible engineering and research talent and also such rigor, which has been, I think, very important to OpenAI’s success, but it’s quite remarkable the impact that it’s had,” notes Sam Altman, the CEO at OpenAI.

Both Zaremba and Sidor recognized their Polish colleagues’ talent and technical skills.

Szymon Sidor further mentioned that Poland had a significant impact on the company. In OpenAI’s early stages, there were about 10 Polish employees out of 50 in total. He believes that the strongest quality the Polish community brought was the technical skill to solve a lot of problems forward.

“I think that AI will infuse every aspect of human life. I’m thinking about it, similar to an electric current that, at the moment, is all around us, and it feels to me quite important at this stage to embrace AI. One potential way people can go about it is to be scared, which I don’t think will get the country far. Instead, I would say I believe that Poland should take advantage of the talent and implement AI all over the place. That’s the investment in the future,” adds co-founder of OpenAI, Wojciech Zaremba.

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In a following interview, Altman mentioned one of the reasons for the current European cities tour is to discover a suitable location for a new office. “Poland would be an interesting place,” Altman said in Tuesday’s interview when asked about European offices. “We want to do a research and engineering office in Europe, not a regulatory one,” Bloomberg quoted the CEO of OpenAI.


Highlights of the OpenAI fireside chat at Warsaw University

During the discussion, the speakers touched upon various aspects of AI and its potential impact on society. They highlighted that AI advancements are currently focused on the digital space, with education, language translation, and healthcare being some areas where significant progress is expected. They also noted the positive aspects of AI, such as enhancing productivity in various industries.

Altman and Zaremba also stressed the need for responsible governance and regulation to prevent the misuse of AI technology. They drew parallels between the potential risks of AI and other powerful technologies, such as nuclear energy, emphasizing the importance of proactive measures to manage the downsides.

Altman acknowledged the concerns surrounding the spread of misinformation and emphasized the need for laws and monitoring systems to mitigate the risks.

They also discussed the decision to release OpenAI’s chatbot, GPT-4, to the public and the importance of gradual development, where society can adapt to the technology over time. The speakers recognized that the process requires thorough testing and extensive research. Additionally, Altman and Zaremba addressed criticisms of OpenAI’s pace of development, emphasizing that they have been deliberate and cautious in their approach, seeking user feedback and engaging with regulatory agencies.

This is likely just the beginning of the story. Stay tuned for more insights into the topic.


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