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On Regulating AI
ChatGPT just turned 6 (months old). So why does Sam Altman want OpenAI to be regulated? A few hypotheses.
Social Responsibility. Genuine concerns that AI might pose an existential threat in some form. OpenAI has a better perspective than lawmakers on where the technology might go (although nobody knows for sure).
Regulatory capture. A playbook that almost every large tech company has attempted at some point (from AT&T to IBM to Microsoft). Even the unicorns of the 2010s (Uber and Airbnb) participated in some form of regulatory arbitrage. Laws can fundamentally influence tech evolution (see AM/FM radio). OpenAI has a lead in AI, and creating barriers to entry for new startups or even existing incumbents might let them capitalize on that lead. So what are the new AI moats?
Public Image. Anthropic has branded itself with ‘constitutional AI.’ The founders left OpenAI after commercialization and safety concerns. Google’s long and complicated relationship with data privacy makes it a tougher sell for companies that might want to augment these models with private data.
Policy Influence. If OpenAI believes regulation is inevitable, getting in front of the process is best to help define the narrative.