Greg Brockman, cofounder of nonprofit AI research organization OpenAI, had an interest in artificial intelligence from a young age, but he didn’t come to work in the field right away. Brockman studied computer science at Harvard before transferring to MIT, where he dropped out to launch online payments platform Stripe. As a founding engineer, Brockman helped scale the business from four people to 250. But he had his heart set on another field: artificial general intelligence, or systems that can perform any intellectual task that a human can.
Brockman left Stripe to pursue a career in AI, building a knowledge base from the ground up. He reconnected with researchers he’d become friends with in college, read books about the fundamentals of machine learning, and reached out to Y Combinator president Sam Altman. Fortuitously, Altman had been thinking about starting an AI lab.
That lab grew into OpenAI, which counts Altman, Elon Musk, LinkedIn executive chair Reid Hoffman, Peter Thiel, and other titans of industry as its backers. Its stated goal is to “build safe human-level AI” and to advance the field of AI with groundbreaking research in robotics, games, and dataset generation.
Ahead of a Capitol Hill hearing on artificial general intelligence this week (which will be streamed here at 10:30 a.m. Eastern on June 26), Brockman spoke with VentureBeat about recent advances in deep learning, the need for discussion and debate about AI, and ways researchers and policymakers might solve the “AI bias problem.”
Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.
VentureBeat: There was an interesting…