OpenAI releases ChatGPT voice capabilities, jokes about its CEO drama, as letter emerges voicing AGI concerns

  • ChatGPT now allows users to ask questions orally and receive audio responses.
  • As Altman returns to OpenAI, a letter emerges that was sent to the board raising concerns about a project searching for Artificial General Intelligence

OpenAI has rolled out a new voice feature for ChatGPT, enabling users to ask questions using natural speech and receive audio responses. Initially exclusive to paying subscribers in September, this feature is now available for free to all users.

ChatGPT: Voice in, voice out

Users can pose questions using voice commands and receive spoken responses. The release comes within days of the internal upheavals at OpenAI, where CEO Sam Altman was fired, hired by Microsoft, and then rehired by OpenAI. The Voice announcement includes a demonstration in which ChatGPT humorously discusses the unfolding drama within the company.

OpenAI’s official X account posed a question in a demonstration video: “It’s been a long night for the team, and we’re hungry. How many 16-inch pizzas should I order for 778 people?” This number roughly aligns with the total OpenAI staff count. Sam Altman is a well-regarded figure within OpenAI. The board’s abrupt decision to dismiss him, without providing explicit reasons, sparked panic and vociferous support for Altman within the company.

Also read: Who is Sam Altman? A tech and venture capital visionary whose rapid rise in AI signalled the start of a new era in computing

Altman-talk-about-this-disturbance-on-X
Altman talked about this disturbance on X.

Negotiations regarding Sam Altman’s return

Altman’s return as CEO also sees him lead a new interim board. The chairman of this board will be Bret Taylor, former Co-CEO of Salesforce, replacing most of the board that dismissed Sam Altman.

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo are also on the new board. D’Angelo retains his seat from the previous board.

Also read: Sam Altman returns to OpenAI as board moves out

According to Raconteur, due to Microsoft’s substantial investment in OpenAI, CEO Satya Nadella also expressed a desire to be kept informed regularly, stating that he does not wish for any more “surprises.”

Reuters has also reported that OpenAI researchers sent a letter to the board just prior to Altman’s sacking, warning that a recent discovery could have the potential to threaten humanity. The project, titled Q* (Q-Star), was centred on a search for Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), which is an AI model that is autonomous and better than humans at most economically valuable tasks.

The quest for AGI, if successful, would be yet another step change accomplishment for those that discover it, but also comes with large theoretical risks, if not constrained.

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