Generative AI has taken the tech industry by storm ever since OpenAI’s ChatGPT debuted last year in November. The CEO of the AI startup, Sam Altman, was named “CEO of the year” for 2023 last week, following his abrupt ouster and reinstatement within 5 days as the company’s chief.

Altman recently appeared in an interview with TIME, where he spoke in earnest about his sudden firing from the company and about Artificial General Intelligence (AGI), which is another AI hot topic lately. Altman said that his sudden removal from the company in November was, in fact, a learning experience for him and the company. He knew it was coming as well.

He said: “We always said that some moment like this would come. I didn’t think it was going to come so soon, but I think we are stronger for having gone through it.”

The returning CEO added that while the experience was unfortunately “extremely painful” for him, it was something that needed to happen as “[OpenAI] has never been more unified.” He also believes that changes have to be made within OpenAI as we get closer and closer to AGI, which is believed to be human-level AI predicted to become reality within 5 years.

“We always said that we didn’t want AGI to be controlled by a small set of people, we want it to be democratized. And we clearly got that wrong. So I think if we don’t improve our governance structure if we don’t improve the way we interact with the world, people shouldn’t [trust OpenAI]. But we’re very motivated to improve that.”

The technology possesses limitless potential, according to Altman, who believes that AGI will be the most powerful technology humanity has yet invented. He highlights its particular significance in democratizing access to information worldwide.

Altman envisions that with the cost of intelligence decreasing and its quality significantly increasing, the possibilities for what people can achieve are vast. “It’s a very different world,” he added, saying that it’s the world science fiction has long promised, and for the first time, there’s a glimpse of what that might look like.