Artificial intelligence (AI) is advancing rapidly and beginning to transform industries across the global economy. As the capabilities of AI systems grow more powerful, questions abound regarding the impacts this technology may have and how it should be guided and governed. larry summers open ai To help address these issues, prominent economist and former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has recently joined the board of OpenAI, a leading AI research company.
Background on OpenAI and Recent Leadership Changes
Founded in 2015 with backing from Silicon Valley luminaries including Sam Altman and Elon Musk, OpenAI’s stated mission is to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity. The San Francisco-based non-profit conducts open research to advance AI and ensure the technology is developed safely.
OpenAI made headlines this month by announcing leadership changes after the ouster last year of CEO Sam Altman amid controversies regarding the organization’s direction. Along with the return of Altman to lead OpenAI once again, an initial board was formed featuring Larry Summers as well as tech leaders Bret Taylor and Adam D’Angelo.
See Also: List of OpenAI Board of Directors
Larry Summers Brings Deep Expertise in Economics, Policymaking, and Academia
As a board member, Larry Summers brings invaluable expertise spanning economics, public policy, and academia. Few living economists have a more extensive background at high levels of academia, government, and policy research.
Summers served as the Secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton between 1999 and 2001, shaping US economic policy during a period of strong growth. He later spent 5 years as President of his alma mater Harvard University before serving as Director of the White House National Economic Council in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2010.
Notable Books and Policy Work
In addition to senior roles in public office and academia, Larry Summers has authored several acclaimed books on economics including:
- The Economic Consequences of the Peace
- Manias, Panics, and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises
- Understanding Unemployment
- The Post-Widget Society: Economic Possibilities for Our Children
His books have examined globalization, financial crises, technology impacts on jobs, and other economic challenges facing societies. Summers is widely published in top peer-reviewed economics journals and continues to produce influential research from his current post at Harvard.
Why Larry Summers is a Strong Addition to OpenAI’s Board
Larry Summers has been outspoken over the years about both the profound potential of AI as well as risks that must be addressed regarding impacts to jobs, inequality, and even threats to democracy. His public remarks indicate great interest in complex policy matters raised by advancing AI.
As a board member advising OpenAI leadership, Summers seems well-positioned to help the research company grapple with economic, social, and governance challenges arising from artificial intelligence. His involvement may lend OpenAI more credibility and influence with regulators as lawmakers around the world consider how to oversee AI technology.
In addition to policy expertise, Summers also brings connections spanning governments, academia, and businesses which may benefit OpenAI. As a high-profile economist focused on technology issues, his presence on the board further elevates OpenAI as an organization with great interest in studying beneficial applications of artificial intelligence.
Unclear Specific Role But Likely Focused on Governance
The specifics of what Larry Summers will focus on as part of OpenAI’s reconstituted board are still to be determined. Early indications suggest he may take a leading role in sorting out organizational governance along with new board colleagues Bret Taylor and Adam D’Angelo.
OpenAI’s initial board formed this month has room for up to 9 total members. Larry Summers will likely be involved in recruiting additional experts across disciplines like computer science, ethics, and public policy. His connections in economics, government, academia, and business circles will prove useful for this board expansion effort.
Strengthening OpenAI’s governance also appears crucial after controversies last year over the organization’s direction ultimately led to leadership turbulence with the removal of Altman as CEO. The return of Altman and formation of an all-star board including Larry Summers seems aimed at putting OpenAI on more steady footing to continue pursuing its mission of advancing AI to benefit humanity.
The recruitment of economist Larry Summers to OpenAI’s board is a major development for the prominent AI research group. Summers brings unmatched experience spanning academia, public policy, economics, and more. His expertise should strengthen OpenAI’s work to govern AI advances and study how the technology can be guided to best serve societies.
With artificial intelligence progressing rapidly and poised to transform industries, questions abound regarding economic impacts, governance frameworks, and more. Larry Summers joins OpenAI well prepared to grapple with these complex challenges at the intersection of technology and economics. His involvement lends the organization deeper credibility regarding critical matters of AI safety and benefiting the public good through this uniquely powerful technology.