In a clandestine gathering that preceded the recent leadership upheaval at OpenAI, a select group of artificial intelligence (AI) and military leaders convened for a three-day retreat in the mountainous environs of Utah. The summit, hosted by the data security contractor Scale AI, unfolded at a discreet luxury hotel in proximity to Park City, providing a secure backdrop for high-stakes discussions.
Attendees, consisting of a mix of AI experts and military strategists, engaged in candid conversations on various industry challenges. The veil of secrecy shrouded the identities of participants, ensuring that insights shared and opinions expressed remained confidential. Against the backdrop of President Joe Biden’s meeting with China’s President Xi Jinping in San Francisco, topics spanned the gamut of AI advancements, US-China AI relations, and the potential evolution of AI into artificial general intelligence (AGI) capable of surpassing human capabilities.
The event wasn’t without its moments of leisure, as invitees adorned bespoke cowboy hats, indulged in coffee-rubbed bison steaks, and participated in archery lessons, where one jesting participant remarked on the agility of their teammate, quipping, “He didn’t need a lot of training data.”
Surprisingly, the summit occurred without any forewarning of the subsequent leadership changes at OpenAI, commonly referred to as the “Red Wedding.” Executives from the organization participated in the retreat, which covered topics ranging from US-China AI dynamics to an in-depth exploration of the underlying technology.
Bloomberg’s Rachel Metz was the sole journalist present, navigating the commitment to non-attribution with skill. While providing a glimpse into the event, Metz respected the confidentiality agreement, refraining from directly quoting any attendees. An unsourced quip during an archery lesson, however, humorously underscored the proficiency of one participant, echoing the broader sentiment that the summit wasn’t merely a frivolous escapade.
Amidst the ambiance of cowboy hats and s’mores, serious deliberations occurred, underscoring the intertwining of work and recreation in the realms of AI leadership and military technology. The Utah summit stands as a testament to the pivotal role these closed-door discussions play in shaping the trajectory of AI development and its implications on a global scale.