AI Leaders Call for Responsible and Equitable AI Development

At a recent event hosted by the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, and Joy Buolamwini, founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, called for a more responsible and equitable approach to artificial intelligence (AI) development. The event, titled “Joy Buolamwini and Sam Altman: Unmasking the Future of AI,” was part of Buolamwini’s book tour and attracted over 75 attendees.

Key Takeaways:

  • OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Algorithmic Justice League founder Joy Buolamwini discussed AI’s potential risks at a recent event.
  • The conversation focused on responsible AI, government regulation, and equitable access.
  • Altman expressed concerns about AI’s impact on the 2024 presidential election.
  • Buolamwini emphasized the need for diverse input in AI systems.
  • Both highlighted the role of governments in ensuring public interest in AI development.
  • The event was part of Buolamwini’s “Unmasking AI” book tour.

The Risks and Responsibilities of AI

Altman and Buolamwini discussed the growing influence of AI technologies like large language models and text-to-image generators on societal norms, privacy, and democracy. Altman specifically voiced concerns about AI’s potential impact on the upcoming 2024 presidential election, citing the “customized one-on-one persuasion ability” of new models. Buolamwini added to this by highlighting the risks of synthetic media and deep fakes in the context of elections, using misinformation about the Israel-Gaza conflict as an example.

The Need for Diverse Input and Government Regulation

A significant part of the discussion revolved around how companies could ensure that AI systems are informed by the voices of marginalized communities. Altman emphasized the responsibility of companies like OpenAI to proactively collect global input in a fair and equitable manner. Buolamwini pointed out the crucial role of governments in this effort, stating that their interest should align with the public interest.

AI’s Potential in Medicine and Healthcare

The event also touched upon the positive aspects of AI, particularly in medicine and healthcare. Stanford Computer Science Assistant Professor Ehsan Adeli noted AI’s potential to transform healthcare and address inequality in access to care. However, he echoed the speakers’ concerns about societal biases being embedded into AI systems due to reliance on data.

Audience Reactions and Concerns

Some audience members expressed skepticism about the speakers’ comments, particularly those made by Altman. Stanford students Emma Charity and Emily Tianshi questioned the idealized nature of Altman’s remarks and the disproportionate benefits of large language models to people with resources.


The event underscored the need for a balanced approach to AI development, one that considers both its potential benefits and risks. As AI continues to evolve, the call for responsible and equitable AI development becomes increasingly important, highlighting the need for collaboration between companies, governments, and communities.