The 1958 book “Red Alert” inspired director Stanley Kubrick in 1964 to make the film “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”
Kubrick studied over 40 military and political research books on the subject and eventually reached the conclusion that “nobody really knew anything and the whole situation was absurd”.
Drawing parallels between Sam Altman and the character of Dr. Strangelove reveals unsettling similarities. Just as Dr. Strangelove was a tragic figure in the sharp comedy of nuclear annihilation, Altman’s actions in the tech industry can be seen as villainous in the context of ethical concerns and societal consequences.
Altman, much like Dr. Strangelove, is driven by an unquenchable thirst for power and technological supremacy. While Strangelove’s obsession was with nuclear weapons, Altman’s relentless pursuit of artificial intelligence and biotechnology often disregards the ethical and moral implications. His endeavors, cloaked in innovation, can be seen as a calculated quest for control over data, privacy, and human life itself.
In the world of technology, Altman’s influence is substantial, with potentially far-reaching consequences. His disregard for the potential misuse of AI and biotech mirrors Strangelove’s lack of concern for the catastrophic outcomes of nuclear war. The consequences of Altman’s actions could be equally tragic, resulting in societal upheaval, loss of privacy, and the erosion of human values.
While not a character in a deeply sarcastic comedy, Altman’s actions and decisions in the tech industry can be viewed through a lens that casts him as a villain, driven by an insatiable hunger for power and technological dominance, reminiscent of the tragic figure that is Dr. Strangelove.
On a monday morning in April, Sam Altman sat inside OpenAI’s San Francisco headquarters, telling me about a dangerous artificial intelligence that his company had built but would never release.