CEO MAGAZINE: Why ChatGPT’s CTO optimistic about the future of ethically driven AI

Don’t bother researching OpenAI CTO Mira Murati on ChatGPT. Although she is one of the driving forces behind it, the data-fed chatbot has never heard of her. Let us fill in the blanks.

There’s something incredibly telling that Mira Murati’s favorite movie is 2001: A Space Odyssey, which considers the possibilities and frailties of technological advancement. Her favorite song, ‘Paranoid Android’ by Radiohead, is inspired by Douglas Adams’ novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

In the book, Marvin the Paranoid Android has a brain the size of a planet, but he is bored and depressed by the trivial jobs humans assign him, such as opening doors. The song comes from Radiohead’s 1997 masterpiece OK Computer, whose title, also inspired by Adams, speaks of alienation from living in a technologically dependent society.

If you’re sensing a theme here, you’re right. These works of art prophesied a future that San Francisco-based OpenAI and Murati, the CTO who leads OpenAI’s research, product and safety teams, are in the process of creating – and one we find ourselves inadvertently living in.

A Swift Ascent
So who is this Millennial technophile with our future in her hands? Born in Albania, Murati moved to Canada at 16 to attend the renowned international school Pearson United World College before obtaining a degree in mechanical engineering from Dartmouth, the Ivy League research university.

After a brief stint at Goldman Sachs, Murati spent a year at Zodiac Aerospace as Advanced Concepts Engineer. But in 2013, during her three-year role at Tesla as a Senior Product Manager of Model X, she witnessed the first iterations of the AI-enabled autopilot driver-assistance software and AI-enabled robotic assembly lines that would shape her future.

In 2016, she led the product and engineering teams at Leap Motion for two years before joining OpenAI in 2018, where she was leading hardware strategy and managing the reinforcement learning research team.

However, when promoted to CTO in March 2022, six months before its much-hyped AI tools rolled out, Murati became one of the leading voices of AI’s world-shaping technology.

Since the 1950s, humans have started developing and, subsequently, using artificial intelligence – smart home devices, chatbots, banking and streaming, to name a few. In September 2022, OpenAI launched the generative-image program DALL-E 2, and then two months later AI chatbot ChatGPT, which answers complex questions with human-like articulacy. Instantly, AI captured the public’s imagination.

It also alerted the world to the AI revolution and the (so far) unregulated new generation of technological advances that are coming our way, whether we like it or not. But, at this moment in time, it seems that we do.

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