AI Startup Cohere’s CEO Slams Effective Altruism in Wake of OpenAI Drama | Tech News

AI Startup Cohere’s CEO Slams Effective Altruism in Wake of OpenAI Drama

Aidan Gomez called out adherents’ ‘self-righteousness’ and said such thinking can lead to ‘extreme actions.’

By:BLOOMBERG
| Updated on: Nov 24 2023, 06:37 IST
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Aidan Gomez
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Aidan Gomez
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Aidan Gomez
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Aidan Gomez
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In the letter, reviewed by Bloomberg, Cohere CEO Aidan Gomez said that the effective altruism movement, which aims to quantify how to do the most good for humanity, has become dogmatic and self-aggrandizing. (Bloomberg)

 The chief executive officer of artificial intelligence startup Cohere criticized the “self-righteousness” of the effective altruism movement and those overly concerned with the threat of an AI doomsday in a letter to his staff on Wednesday.

The AI industry has been increasingly divided between those who urge caution and restraint in the development of the technology and those who want to barrel ahead quickly. That tension was on full display this past week amid the rupture between OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and the board members who fired him Friday—before the company rehired him five days later. The fear that AI might wipe out humanity is a key belief among many effective altruists and one that has grown increasingly influential in Silicon Valley and in the AI industry over the past decade. The OpenAI board included proponents of the philosophy.

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In the letter, reviewed by Bloomberg, Cohere CEO Aidan Gomez said that the effective altruism movement, which aims to quantify how to do the most good for humanity, has become dogmatic and self-aggrandizing. “When people begin to believe so deeply that they are uniquely qualified to benefit, or even save, humanity, they tend to be willing to take extreme actions towards that end,” he wrote. Others have rebuked the philanthropic movement for similar reasons, citing the way “ends justify the means” thinking has led to harm,  fraud and allegations of abuse. 

Gomez wrote that Cohere was not “distracted by fantastic stories about doomsdays and terminators.” He also took some shots at the way other AI startups have partnered with cloud providers, similar to OpenAI's tie-up with Microsoft Corp. “Over the years, we have had opportunities to receive large investments from various cloud providers, but we are not willing to accept money with strings attached, and will not accept money that needs to be recycled back into the investor,” he wrote.

A Cohere spokesperson confirmed the letter's authenticity and declined further comment.

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First Published Date: 24 Nov, 06:36 IST
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