OpenAI CEO Sam Altman Talks AI Revolution On Nigeria Tour

By  |  May 19, 2023

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI; the company behind some recent breakthroughs in generative artificial intelligence in the form of ChatGPT and DALL-E, is in Lagos today, May 19, connecting with members of the tech community in Nigeria’s business nerve centre.

In an earlier meetup at MUSON, Altman was pictured speaking with students of the American International School of Lagos on the emerging artificial intelligence (AI)-powered future, along with more than a dozen other students from local schools.

Another meetup with the tech community is also taking place. The meetups, one of which is ongoing as of the time of publishing, are part of a world tour which Altman first revealed in a tweet on March 29, announcing his intention to meet with users, developers, and people interested in AI.

Altman, who has emerged at the forefront of what some are already calling an imminent AI revolution, had invited interested persons to fill out a form requesting basic information such as the person’s name, email address, and the reason for their desire to meet. Additionally, individuals who have the capacity to organise a gathering of 500 or more people were encouraged to specify.

The tour is expected to span 17 cities across the globe, including Toronto, New Delhi, Tel Aviv, Madrid, Brussels, and Singapore, and is to be completed between May and June.

Altman has been captured on stage in Lagos, the only African stop on the tour schedule, addressing individuals who have been invited to share feedback, feature requests, and other thoughts on AI.

Nigeria, which hosts Africa’s most vibrant tech landscape in Lagos, is seeing rising interest in AI with builders already churning out notable generative AI-powered applications. These include Justin Irabor’s Kainene Vos Savant; a study buddy on Telegram and Richmond Alake’s audio-to-text AI automation tool, among others. Altman’s Nigeria trip comes as a significant attraction for the country’s and the continent’s growing AI community. 

Apart from meeting with OpenAI users and developers to gather feedback and insights on AI, Altman—formerly President of the renowned startup accelerator Y Combinator—has also indicated there are plans to engage with policymakers. An appearance before the US Senate just two days ago during which the OpenAI CEO welcomed government regulations on AI, suggests a willingness to engage with the authorities to roll out the tech safely and forestall potential abuse and harm.

In November of last year, OpenAI made ChatGPT available to the public, showcasing its impressive capability to rapidly learn and adjust to new information. Designed to generate responses in a conversational style, this advanced language model sparked excitement.

Microsoft made headlines with its announcement of a significant multi-year investment in OpenAI startup, which led to the unveiling of Bing, a search app powered by ChatGPT. This strategic move is part of Microsoft’s broader ambition to integrate AI technology into its popular Office suite, including Word and PowerPoint.

Not to be left out, Google has since rolled out its chatbot Bard as the company completes its dash to release a competitor to Bing Chat and ChatGPT, setting the scene for the tech giants to collide in the frenetic AI arms race.

Featured Image Credits: Samson Goddy/Twitter

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