Isaac Herzog holds meeting with OpenAI CEO to discuss risks and regulation


President Isaac Herzog of the State of Israel held a significant meeting with Sam Altman, the CEO and co-founder of OpenAI, during Altman’s visit to Israel during a global tour of AI development hotspots around the world.

OpenAI is the world’s leading research laboratory for artificial intelligence (AI), best known for its flagship product ChatGPT, an AI language model that enables users to ask questions and receive natural language responses. OpenAI is also known for developing DALL-E, a tool that generates original images based on textual descriptions.

The meeting between President Herzog and Sam Altman holds great significance in the context of the global AI landscape. It represents a convergence of political leadership and technological expertise, highlighting the recognition of AI’s transformative potential and the urgency to navigate its implications. Altman’s visit to Israel underscores the country’s growing reputation as a hub for innovation and technological advancement.

Israel is a tech powerhouse

During the meeting, Herzog touched on that point, stating: “Clearly Israel is a powerhouse in terms of technology and innovation, and a leading force in the development of artificial intelligence especially. Your visit has created enormous interest across the country – a country that wants to do good and serve the world with purpose.”

The discussions between President Herzog and Altman touched upon the evolving AI landscape, the challenges and opportunities presented by AI technologies, and the importance of responsible AI development. Such high-level engagements between political leaders and industry pioneers demonstrate a commitment to fostering collaboration and shaping policies that ensure the safe and beneficial deployment of AI.

President Herzog (left) shakes hands with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman (right). (credit: AMOS BEN GERSHOM/GPO)

The emergence of generative AI, exemplified by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, has prompted global lawmakers to address the safety concerns associated with this technology. As a result, governments worldwide are grappling with the need to create appropriate legislation. The European Union has taken the lead by drafting the AI Act, which is expected to be enacted later this year. In contrast, the United States is leaning toward adapting existing laws to regulate AI rather than creating entirely new legislation. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom aims to strike a balance by avoiding excessive regulation that could stifle innovation.

“Side by side with the great opportunities of this incredible technology, there are also many risks to humanity and to the independence of human beings in the future. We must make sure that this development is used for the well-being of humanity. You can see the advantages and disadvantages, and you are the first to mention it openly and boldly,” said Herzog.

As AI continues to reshape various sectors of society, it is crucial for policymakers, industry leaders, and technologists to come together and forge a path that balances innovation with ethical considerations. The meeting between President Herzog and Altman serves as a symbol of this necessary collaboration and sets the stage for future initiatives aimed at harnessing the potential of AI for the betterment of society.

After stopping in Israel Altman now plans to visit Jordan, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, India and South Korea within the week.

“I have been very heartened as I have been doing this trip around the world, getting to meet world leaders, in seeing the thoughtfulness, the focus, and the urgency on figuring out how we mitigate these very huge risks,” Altman said. “The rate at which the tech and startup community in Israel is embracing AI is incredible to watch.”