Home Featured I left OpenAI to support the AI revolution. Here’s why real change won’t come from the epicenter

I left OpenAI to support the AI revolution. Here’s why real change won’t come from the epicenter

I left OpenAI to support the AI revolution. Here’s why real change won’t come from the epicenter


In the cannon of technological breakthroughs, AI undoubtedly claims its place as the most potent in recent memory. At OpenAI, I was at the nexus of formulating strategies that have begun transforming the business landscape: pivotal AI decisions that are reshaping industry dynamics, driving productivity, and fostering unprecedented efficiency. It may seem counterintuitive, but to genuinely mold AI’s trajectory, I have stepped out of its innovative epicenter to join the broader discourse, highlighting opportunities and cautioning against missteps.

The AI-induced renaissance is evident in tangible changes–whether it’s through automating mundane tasks in the banking sector, optimizing supply chains in manufacturing, or enhancing customer experiences in retail. Already, AI innovations in medicine have resulted in diagnostic tools that outpace the human eye and its applications in agriculture have the potential to address global hunger with data-driven farming solutions.

However, this rapid transformation harbors stark disparities. Ernst and Young’s recent survey of major CEOs revealed a telling tale: a mere half have ventured into AI adaptation. The clock is ticking, and for those lagging, catching up might soon be a Sisyphean task.

This technological revolution offers a promise: granting us more time and rendering us more human. However, realizing this utopia mandates disruption. Empirical evidence underscores the urgency to evolve in tandem with AI. MIT Sloan Management Review’s enlightening study revealed a staggering fivefold increase in productivity when businesses tailored their processes around AI.

As AI reshapes industries, the real danger isn’t just falling behind–it’s becoming obsolete. Every delay or doubt means missed opportunities. While one company is still deciding its approach, others are diving in and setting new industry standards. The speed to execute has risen exponentially, requiring all businesses to rethink their competitive advantages. And it’s not just the big players at risk. Smaller businesses, thinking they’re safe on the sidelines, might be the most at risk.

Now, there’s an elephant in the room–job displacement. The initial tremors of this revolution will inevitably cause job shifts, and some roles may become obsolete. But history offers solace. Think back to the onset of the internet or even the Industrial Revolution. Each disruptive phase reshuffled jobs but also birthed new roles, many of which were previously inconceivable.

I firmly advocate for the boundless potential of AI. Still, the onus is on us to guide its evolution responsibly. As America vies for AI leadership on the global stage, I’m compelled by a sense of duty to help businesses, local governments, and my compatriots in comprehending and harnessing this wave.

The mystique of AI often harks back to concerns voiced during earlier tech revolutions. But here’s the crux: AI’s potential is not confined to algorithms or databases–it’s about democratizing access, breaking down information silos, and fostering innovation at all societal strata.

In the grand tapestry of our societal evolution, AI is not merely a chapter but a pivotal turning point. As we embrace this new dawn, our collective wisdom and foresight will determine whether AI remains a tool for the few or becomes a force that empowers everyone. After parting ways with OpenAI, my optimism remains unshaken. With collaboration, insight, and a shared vision, we can ensure AI’s transformative power resonates across every corner of our society.

Zack Kass is the former head of go-to-market strategy at OpenAI.

More must-read commentary published by Fortune:

  • Indeed CEO: ‘AI is changing the way we find jobs and how we work. People like me should not be alone in making decisions that affect millions’
  • Why critics love to hate Elon Musk–and why his fans adore him
  • Burnout is attacking our brains and making it harder to excel at work. ‘Deliberate calm’ can help us adapt
  • The U.S.-China trade war is counterproductive–and the Huawei P60’s chip is just one of its many unforeseen ramifications

The opinions expressed in Fortune.com commentary pieces are solely the views of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of Fortune.

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