OpenAI’s reported ‘superintelligence’ breakthrough is so big it nearly destroyed the company, and ChatGPT

It now seems entirely possible that ChatGPT parent company OpenAI has solved the 'superintelligence' problem, and is now grappling with the implications for humanity.

In the aftermath of OpenAI's firing and rehiring of its co-founder and CEO Sam Altman, revelations about what sparked the move keep coming. A new report in The Information pins at least the internal disruption on a significant Generative AI breakthrough that could lead to the development of something called 'superintelligence' within this decade or sooner.

Superintelligence is, as you might have guessed, intelligence that outstrips humanity, and the development of AI that's capable of such intelligence without proper safeguards is, naturally, a major red flag.

According to The Information, the breakthrough was spearheaded by OpenAI Chief Scientist (and full-of-regrets board member) Ilya Sutskever. 

It allows AI to use cleaner and computer-generated data to solve problems the AI has never seen before. This means the AI is trained not on many different versions of the same problem, but on information not directly related to the problem. Solving problems in this way – usually math or science problems – requires reasoning. Right, something we do, not AIs.

OpenAI's primary consumer-facing product, ChatGPT (powered by the GPT large language model [LLM]) may seem so smart that it must to be using reason to craft its responses. Spend enough time with ChatGPT, however, and you soon realize it's just regurgitating what it's learned from the vast swaths of data it's been fed, and making mostly accurate guesses about how to craft sentences that make sense and which apply to your query. There is no reasoning involved here.

The Information claims, though, that this breakthrough – which Altman may have alluded to in a recent conference appearance, saying, “on a personal note, just in the last couple of weeks, I have gotten to be in the room, when we sort of like push the sort of the veil of ignorance back and the frontier of discovery forward,” – sent shockwaves throughout OpenAI.

Managing the threat

While there's no sign of superintelligence in ChatGPT right now, OpenAI is surely working to integrate some of this power into, at least, some of its premium products, like GPT-4 Turbo and those GPTs chatbot agents (and future 'intelligent agents').

Connecting superintelligence to the board's recent actions, which Sutskever initially supported, might be a stretch. The breakthrough reportedly came months ago, and prompted Sutskever and another OpenAI scientist, Jan Leike, to form a new OpenAI research group called Superaligment with the goal of developing superintelligence safeguards.

Yes, you heard that right. The company working on developing superintelligence is simultaneously building tools to protect us from superintelligence. Imagine Doctor Frankenstein equipping the villagers with flamethrowers, and you get the idea.

What's not clear from the report is how internal concerns about the rapid development of superintelligence possibly triggered the Altman firing. Perhaps it doesn't matter.

At this writing, Altman is on his way back to OpenAI, the board is refashioned, and the work to build superintelligence – and to protect us from it – will continue.

If all of this is confusing, I suggest you ask ChatGPT to explain it to you.

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Windows 11 frame rate stuttering reported by some users with AMD CPUs

Some Windows 11 users are running into trouble with sporadic stuttering issues (accompanied with audio glitches), which according to reports are related to AMD processors and the necessary TPM security required by Microsoft’s newest operating system.

Specifically, on AMD PCs, there’s an implementation of TPM which is fTPM – meaning it’s integrated in firmware, rather than on a separate TPM module – and this is what folks who are affected believe is causing the issue, finding that when it’s turned off in the BIOS, the stuttering disappears.

Unfortunately, some people don’t have the option to turn off fTPM – that switch simply isn’t present in the BIOS – so they’re out of luck on that score. The other alternative solution appears to be installing a discrete TPM module, rather than relying on the firmware integrated functionality, and this also works to fix the issue – at least according to reports. Assuming you have the ability to install a separate TPM module in your PC.

As various reports detail, on Reddit, the Linus Tech Tips discussion boards and Lenovo’s forum to point out a few which Windows Latest flagged up (not to mention Microsoft’s feedback hub), the stuttering frame rates hit at random times and last for a few seconds in some cases – longer in others – and audio is garbled at the same time.

If that should occur, say, during a crucial moment of an online game you’re about to win, that’s going to be pretty frustrating (and doubtless it’ll be a serious annoyance as part of your everyday computing life, too).

Analysis: Losing TPM on Windows 11 is possible, but is it wise?

Note that this problem also occurs on Windows 10 PCs, the difference there being that enabling TPM isn’t part of the system requirements. So, while it’s fine to turn off fTPM on Windows 10 – assuming your BIOS allows for this as noted above – on Windows 11, that comes with its own potential problems.

Now, while it is possible to install Windows 11 and then turn off fTPM, that could cause issues with things like BitLocker drive encryption, or have other side-effects, like not being able to play some games (as Windows Latest observes, Valorant is one such game – and there will likely be more in the future). The biggie, of course, is that it could also interfere with receiving Windows updates, or so Microsoft says – though updates still appear to be delivered up to now.

Essentially, turning off fTPM is something of a minefield of possible collateral damage on Windows 11, and that’s why some of those who want to get around this stuttering glitch are downgrading to Windows 10.

This issue is hopefully something both Microsoft and AMD are putting their heads together to attempt to fix, so we can keep our fingers crossed that a proper resolution is delivered in the near future. If the glitches aren’t disrupting your computing experience too much, likely your best bet is to sit tight and hope for the timely delivery of a patch.

By the way, for all manner of troubleshooting help with Windows 11, you should check out our full guide to common problems with the OS.

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