OpenAI, Microsoft and Google be a part of AI talks at secret assembly

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, is one of several business and political leaders who will be attending the annual Bilderberg gathering in Lisbon, Portugal.

Win Mcnamee | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, will join with senior executives from companies like Microsoft And Google A secret meeting of the business and political elite starts this week in Lisbon, Portugal.

Artificial intelligence will be high on the agenda when the ChatGPT boss meets with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, DeepMind boss Demis Hassabis and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt at the annual Bilderberg meeting.

The tech titans will be joined by political heavyweights including former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba for a series of talks on international relations, trade, energy and finance.

A total of around 130 participants from 23 countries will take part in the private meeting – a similar number as in previous years. Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, bp Chief Bernard Looney, Total Energies CEO Patrick Pouyanne, investor Peter Thiel and numerous EU politicians will also be there.

The three-day event, which runs from Thursday to Sunday this year, is shrouded in mystery as secret talks take place behind closed doors and are governed by Chatham House rules, meaning speakers’ identities and affiliations cannot be revealed.

This has led to conspiracy theories similar to those being leveled at high-level meetings like the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, claiming that participants want to establish a “new world order”. However, the organizers of the event say the discreet nature of the event is intended to allow for greater freedom of discussion.

What’s on the agenda for 2023?

The main topics for discussion from this year’s gathering were released by the organizers on Thursday, giving an insight into what they see as the most pressing issues in global affairs:

  • AI
  • banking system
  • China
  • energy transition
  • Europe
  • Tax Challenges
  • India
  • industrial policy and trade
  • NATO
  • Russia
  • Transnational Threats
  • Ukraine
  • US leadership

The talks come at a time when the launch of artificial intelligence tools like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard have fueled growing concerns about the technology’s rapid evolution, with Altman called on Tuesday to testify before the US Senate .

Meanwhile, the ongoing war in Ukraine and concerns about the growing threat from China have become a source of ongoing debate among Western leaders, with signs of division in US and European politics intensifying in recent months .

What is Bilderberg?

The Bilderberg meeting was launched in 1954 for the 69th time to “promote” the “dialogue” between Europe and North America.

Today, about two-thirds of participants come from Europe and the rest from North America, about a quarter from politics and government and the rest from other fields, the website said in a statement. About a fifth are women.

And as always, discretion is key. Participants attend as individuals and not in an official capacity, and no official detailed agenda is announced, nor are the discussions subject to reporting.

“The Bilderberg meeting is a forum for informal discussion on important issues. The meetings will be held under the Chatham House Rule which states that participants are free to use the information obtained but not to disclose the identity or affiliation of the speaker(s) “Any other participant may be disclosed”, the organizers said in a press release on Thursday.

The event is organized by the Bilderberg Meeting Foundation, which is itself governed by a rotating steering committee, and is funded through a variety of sources. There is no entry fee for the event, however participation is by invitation only and participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses.

“The annual contributions of the steering committee members cover the annual costs of the small secretariat. The Secretariat’s budget is limited to staff and administrative costs. The cost of hosting the annual meeting is the responsibility of the host country’s steering committee member(s),” the website said in a statement.

Correction: Dmytro Kuleba is Foreign Minister of Ukraine and Peter Thiel is an investor. In an earlier version, their names were misspelled.

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