OpenAI chief Sam Altman says Israel will have ‘huge role’ to play in AI revolution

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman says that he is impressed with the talent pool in Israel and expresses confidence that the local tech ecosystem will play a “huge role” in the artificial intelligence revolution transforming the world in the coming years.

“There are two things I have observed that are particular about Israel: the first is talent density and the second is the relentlessness, drive and ambition of Israeli entrepreneurs,” Altman says, speaking at Tel Aviv University. “Those two things together are optimal to lead to incredible prosperity both in terms of AI research and AI applications.”

Calling the near term the golden age of AI, Altman and Ilya Sutskever, the co-creator of ChatGPT, encouraged Israeli developers and entrepreneurs to delve into the uncharted territory of AI, which they predict has a huge number of opportunities and positive applications.

“I will just say, Go for it, just do it,” Sutskever enthused.

Earlier in the day, Altman met with President Isaac Herzog and told him that his visit to Israel is “very special” to him.

“The rate at which the tech and startup community in Israel is embracing AI is incredible to watch,” Altman says. “The energy on making use of the technology and its positive benefits is fantastic to see, and I am sure Israel will play a huge role – its tech community is truly amazing.”

The two discussed the risks and benefits of AI and the fast pace the technology is developing. Herzog expressed personal interest in leading a discussion within Israel and worldwide on the ethics and other aspects of AI technology.

“Clearly side by side with the great opportunities of this incredible technology, there are also many risks to humanity and to the independence of human beings in the future,” Herzog says. “Medicine will be dramatically improved by AI. However, issues of ethics and morality, questions of fake news — show the risks.”

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