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ChatGPT Double-Edged Sword: Sam Altman, OpenAI, and the Dual Narrative of Artificial Intelligence Safety

by Felix Omondi

12 months ago, the now 38-year-old Sam Altman rose into rockstar status within the Silicon Valley community and tech society worldwide. Heck, he even went on a global tour meeting heads of States alongside big tech executives. No doubt all the bells and whistles of a record label’s music rockstar global tour.

One would think as the ambassador of Artificial Intelligence, the Altman crusade was talking, breathing, sleeping … matters pro AI. Well, turns out the young chap is somewhat a contradiction of this picture.

While his crusade was trying to sell the idea of AI and how it stands to revolutionize the world. There was a sharp warning message coming from his own crusade about the potential negative effects of AI.

Beware of AI Terminator out to Kill the Human Race

If I could paraphrase Sam Altman’s message in a dramatic way, I would say he warned of the possibility of AI turning into Terminator’s Skynet. The AI system that becomes self-aware and initiates a nuclear war against humanity. Skynet is responsible for creating the Terminators, cybernetic assassins sent back in time to eliminate Sarah Connor, the mother of John Connor, the future leader of the human resistance against the AI-powered super advanced robotics.

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Hollywood and movie theaters aside. There is a real concern about the possibility of AI exacerbating economic inequalities around the world. The immediate effect can be in the form of job displacement through several mechanisms such as:

  1. Automation – AI-driven automation can replace routine, repetitive tasks across various industries, leading to the reduced need for human labor in those specific roles.
  2. Efficiency Gains: AI algorithms can optimize processes, increasing efficiency and productivity, which might reduce the overall number of workers needed for certain tasks or functions.
  3. Transformation of Industries: AI innovations can fundamentally change industries, rendering some job roles obsolete while creating demand for new skills and expertise.
  4. Replacing Human Decision-Making: AI’s ability to make complex decisions based on data analysis can replace certain decision-making roles, especially in fields like finance, customer service, and data analysis.
  5. Disruption of Traditional Jobs: Advancements in AI might disrupt traditional job sectors by introducing new technologies or business models that replace existing services or products.

The Disparity between Sam Altman’s Crusade versus Investor’s ROI

As the poster-child of AI, one would assume Altman’s double-sided message would not sit well with some stakeholders within the OpenAI board of directors. If anything, he is supposed to talk about all the positives of AI and never on the negatives.

Doing that will certainly be in line with the investor’s bottomline of commercial application of their product in as short an amount of time and as across the industries as possible. Though all these are allegations as there has not been any official communication from the OpenAI community.

The Sacking of Sam Altman by OpenAI

A section of the media are reporting that Altman’s last week’s sacking was allegedly against a backdrop of him not being “consistently candid” when dealing with the board of directors.

Additionally, there has been growing tension within the company over what they see as Altman’s ambition to transform OpenAI into Silicon Valley’s next rockstar tech house. A development that goes against the company’s founding mission of putting human safety as a priority.

The Growing Power of ChatGPT

Looking at recent capabilities of ChatGPT, there is no denying that OpenAI is on a streak of success. The AI has undergone outsized success, something that has left other stakeholders cautious if human-safety-first is at the foremost priority.


The saga of Sam Altman and OpenAI encapsulates the complex narrative surrounding AI’s promise and peril. Altman’s dual-sided approach, advocating AI’s potential while warning against its darker implications, stirred controversy within OpenAI. Economic inequality and job displacement loom as AI advances. Altman’s departure amid tensions over company direction spotlights conflicting priorities—commercial success versus human safety. 

Meanwhile, OpenAI’s ChatGPT’s strides underscore technological triumphs but raise concerns about aligning with safety imperatives. The evolving AI landscape demands a delicate balance between progress and safeguarding humanity, urging a reevaluation of priorities for a responsible AI-driven future.

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