Wednesday, September 27, 2023

OpenAI’s head of trust and safety is stepping down

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  • OpenAI’s Head of Trust and Safety, Dave Willner, is stepping down to transition into an advisory role and spend more time with family.
  • OpenAI faces increased scrutiny over the safety of its products, especially after the success of the AI chatbot ChatGPT.
  • CEO Sam Altman has called for AI regulation due to AI manipulation and disinformation concerns.
  • Mira Murati will become the interim manager of the trust and safety team, and Willner will advise the team until the end of the year.
  • OpenAI is working with regulators to establish safeguards for AI technology and made voluntary commitments with other AI firms to ensure safety and trustworthiness.

Dave Willner, the head of trust and safety at OpenAI, announced his plans to step down from the position. Willner, who has been leading the artificial intelligence firm’s trust and safety team since February 2022, revealed in a LinkedIn post that he would be transitioning into an advisory role to spend more time with his family.

His departure comes at a crucial time for OpenAI, as the company has faced increased scrutiny and public attention following the success of its AI chatbot, ChatGPT. Lawmakers, regulators, and the public have expressed concerns over the safety of OpenAI’s products and their potential societal implications.

OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, called for AI regulation during a Senate panel hearing in March. He expressed particular concern about the potential use of AI to manipulate voters and spread disinformation, especially with upcoming elections.

In his post, Willner acknowledged the high-intensity phase of OpenAI’s development and the significant growth of his role since joining the company. OpenAI praised Willner’s work in operationalizing their commitment to safely and responsibly using their technology. As he transitions out, OpenAI’s Chief Technology Officer, Mira Murati, will temporarily take charge of the trust and safety team, while Willner will continue to advise the team until the end of the year.

OpenAI has been actively collaborating with regulators in the United States and elsewhere to establish safeguards for the rapid advancement of AI technology. Recently, the company and other leading AI firms agreed upon voluntary commitments by the White House to ensure the safety and trustworthiness of AI systems and products. This commitment includes subjecting new AI systems to external testing before public release and clearly labeling AI-generated content.

As OpenAI moves forward, the company is searching for a technically-skilled lead to further its mission, focusing on designing, developing, and implementing systems that ensure the safe use and scalable growth of its AI technology.

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Ethan Rivers
Ethan Rivers
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