Sam Altman

October 17th

Sam Altman, 34, was part of the inaugural Y Combinator class in 2005. His company, Loopt, was a social app that allowed users to share their location and find interesting businesses and events nearby. It was acquired by the Green Dot Corporation in 2012. He returned to Y Combinator as a part-time partner shortly beforehand, and became the accelerator's president in 2014.

Altman founded OpenAI with Elon Musk in 2015.

From a New Yorker profile of Altman in 2016:

Four years ago, on a daylong hike with friends north of San Francisco, Altman relinquished the notion that human beings are singular. As the group discussed advances in artificial intelligence, Altman recognized, he told me, that “there’s absolutely no reason to believe that in about thirteen years we won’t have hardware capable of replicating my brain. Yes, certain things still feel particularly human—creativity, flashes of inspiration from nowhere, the ability to feel happy and sad at the same time—but computers will have their own desires and goal systems. When I realized that intelligence can be simulated, I let the idea of our uniqueness go, and it wasn’t as traumatic as I thought.” He stared off. “There are certain advantages to being a machine. We humans are limited by our input-output rate—we learn only two bits a second, so a ton is lost. To a machine, we must seem like slowed-down whale songs.”