OpenAI reportedly had a secret project that was believed to be so dangerous that it was a “threat to humanity”, according to the company’s researchers. Codenamed Q*, this ambitious project is said to have led to CEO Sam Altman’s ouster last weekend.

But what is this project all about? Could it really be a threat to humanity? Here is what we know so far.

What is Q*?

Some researchers at OpenAI believe that Q* could be the key to achieving the company’s ultimate goal, which is artificial general intelligence (AGI), while others think that it could surpass humans, thus becoming a major threat.

According to various reports, Q* is an advanced deep learning system capable of learning from diverse data sources independently, without the need for human supervision or guidance.

What Can It Do?

It possesses the ability to generate original and cohesive content, including text, images, and sounds, driven by its own goals and preferences.

Other reports assert that Q* has exhibited impressive capabilities, such as composing music, crafting poetry, and solving intricate problems, but there are conflicting opinions. Some argue that Q* is still in its nascent stages, limited to grade-school math problems and that its true potential and limitations are still a mystery.

Is it a Threat?

Some at OpenAI believe that Q* could be used to achieve unparalleled scientific and social advancements, emphasizing that OpenAI’s mission is geared towards ensuring the broad and equitable distribution of these benefits.

On the other hand, some are more cautious and skeptical about it. They wonder whether Q* will operate within OpenAI’s original vision of creating a safe and beneficial AI and whether the AI will be controllable enough for OpenAI to guide and point it in the right direction. Because if not, it could pose a critical threat to ethics and safety including concerns of misalignment, manipulation, and malicious use.

These complicated questions are difficult to answer and they require careful and collaborative deliberation, especially since Q* is still in its early stages.

But what’s clear to everyone is that this project is certainly something formidable. After all, it led the chain of events to fire Sam Altman, who was reportedly a champion of Q*.

Altman has now been reinstated to his position as the CEO of the company.