Jan 19, 2024 - Axios Events

Axios House at the World Economic Forum 2024: The Democratization of AI

Sam Altman speaking with Ina Fried on the Axios stage.

Sam Altman speaking with Ina Fried on the Axios stage. Credit: Dani Ammann Photography on behalf of Axios

Axios House's week of event programming at the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland continued on Wednesday with another lunchtime reception event on AI's powerful growth.

1 big thing: Axios co-founder Mike Allen, chief technology correspondent Ina Fried and global technology correspondent Ryan Heath interviewed OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Palantir co-founder and CEO Alex Karp and European Parliament member Eva Maydell.

What they're saying: Alex Karp described the dislocation of AI growth between America and Europe, arguing that AI is largely benefiting already established companies in the U.S. and helping them to grow much stronger than smaller, newer counterparts who are less well-positioned.

  • "The disjunction in America is a lot of the GDP growth is going to be powered by software that works, software that's transformational, what we call AI, not just large language models and your ability to implement them, and that's going to fall probably to a very, very small number of people."

Eva Maydell explained her strategy for dealing with the legal vacuum between now and 2026 until the final parts of the EU AI Act are enforced.

  • "I think the past couple of months were important overall in global governance because a lot of companies that are in that space realized that there is action happening, whether from the EU or from the G7 countries, the UN process or others. I believe many of the companies are actually already thinking in that manner … There was a little bit of uncertainty around some European AI companies whether we should be regulating general purpose AI systems. But I truly believe that we have built the way of life in Europe based on those democratic values, and I truly believe that those companies would want to embed those values in the development of AI."

Sam Altman doubled down on how the continuously increasing intelligence of AI is what makes the technology so valuable and powerful as it continues to become more capable of analyzing more complex information.

  • "The general principle, I think the thing that matters most, is just that it gets smarter … the thing that matters most is not that it can have this new modality or it can solve this new problem, it is the generalized intelligence keeps increasing. And we find new ways to put that into a product, we find new ways to use it, but that's the higher order bit, I think that dominates everything else in the importance, is that the overall capability of the model, it's overall intelligence, it's ability to do longer, more complex problems more accurately, more of them, that is increasing across the board. And that, to me, is one of the few things that make this totally different from any previous kind of technology.'

Sponsored content:

In a View From the Top sponsored segment, Qualcomm president and CEO Cristiano R. Amon explained how near-term changes in on-device AI could make generative AI more accessible for users beyond the cloud.

  • "I think we are right getting at a point that … we are going to have a number of different models actually running on phones, on PCs, on cars, and it's going to go parallel to what's happening in the cloud, and it's going to change how we think of some of the user experience."

Thank you to Qualcomm for sponsoring this event.

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