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OpenAI CEO Foresees Israel's Significant Role in Mitigating Artificial Intelligence Risks

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman emphasized the substantial role Israel is poised to play in reducing risks associated with artificial intelligence (AI) while exploring investment opportunities in the country.

New site in Israel; Image: The Times of Israel

Altman recently concluded a tour across Europe, engaging with government representatives to discuss the potentials and threats of AI and is now set to travel to Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, India, and South Korea.

Israel has been ranked among the top five countries for significant machine learning systems and the concentration of AI skills, according to a study conducted by Stanford University.

Altman expressed encouragement regarding the thoughtful approaches, focus, and urgency demonstrated by global leaders in mitigating the immense risks associated with AI during a meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog.

Altman noted the remarkable energy dedicated to harnessing the technology's positive benefits and expressed confidence in Israel's potential to play a pivotal role.

During a visit to Microsoft's R&D center in Israel, Altman responded to inquiries about the establishment of a local office, stating that the preference lies in working together in one location, while simultaneously exploring various investment options in Israel.

The rapid development and popularity of generative AI, exemplified by OpenAI's ChatGPT, have prompted global policymakers to formulate regulations addressing safety concerns linked to the technology. While the European Union is making strides with its draft AI Act expected to become law later this year, the United States leans toward adapting existing legislation rather than creating new ones for AI.

Israel, akin to Britain and to a great extent Canada, finds itself positioned towards the U.S. end of the regulatory spectrum, balancing innovation with the preservation of human rights and civic safeguards, as noted by Ziv Katzir, Director of National AI Planning at the Israel Innovation Authority.

Israel published a 115-page draft AI policy in October and is currently soliciting public feedback before making a final decision.

Altman's visit to Israel, however, does not include a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has drawn criticism from leaders in the country's vital tech sector due to a highly controversial bid to overhaul the judicial system.


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