Secretive Project Q* — Altman Pushing Back the Veil of Ignorance

OpenAI Makes Technological Leap in AI’s Reasoning — But Is It AGI?

Cezary Gesikowski
7 min readNov 23, 2023

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image: screen capture by the author of Sam Altman Open AI CEO Sam Altman participating in a discussion on artificial intelligence with James Manyika, SVP of Research, Technology & Society, Google, and Chris Cox, CPO, Meta.

“A computer would deserve to be called intelligent if it could deceive a human into believing that it was human.” — Alan Turing, the inventor of the Turing Test

When Sam Altman, the recently ousted and fast re-instated CEO of OpenAI, spoke of witnessing ‘the veil of ignorance being pushed back’ during a recent APEC summit, few read this as a major step towards Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). But the cause of recent events at OpenAI amplified whispers about Project Q*(pron. Q-Star) have now turned into loud and contentious debates in the AI community. While Project Q*, a ground-breaking advancement in the AI sector, is proclaimed a giant leap in AI’s reasoning capabilities, it is unlikely the AGI singularity we’ve been waiting for. This article aims to demystify the technological intricacies of Project Q* and its significance in the larger AI landscape.

AI Hype Is Best Served Hot

“We are not currently training what will be GPT-5; we don’t have plans to do it in the next 6 months.” Sam Altman, OpenAI CEO, testifying before Senate Judiciary Committee under oath

Following the weekend OpenAI Board shenanigans triggered a tsunami of speculation of their causes. The hot ambers of hype were stirred by a Reuters article claiming that several OpenAI researchers wrote to the board of directors, warning of a powerful AI discovery that could threaten humanity​​​​. The secretive Project Q* is spearheaded by OpenAI’s chief scientist Ilya Sutskevar, along with other top researchers, Jakub Pachocki and Szymon Sidor​​. Many have been speculating whether the findings of this project lead Altman to drop subtle hints at APEC 2023, and also, if his secrecy around it triggered the OpenAI Board’s decision to urgently eject him from the top driver seat at the company.

Understanding the Core of Q

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Cezary Gesikowski

Artificial+Human Intelligence | Photography+Algography | UX+Design Thinking | Art+Technology | Philosophy+Literature |