What Happened at OpenAI: Board Members Believed that Altman Was Dishonest

IBL News | New York

Before firing Sam Altman on November 17, Ilya Sutskever, the chief scientist of OpenAI, and three board members had been whispering behind his back for months, The New York Times revealed in an insightful story this Saturday.

They believed Sam Altman had been dishonest and should no longer lead the company.

They were worried that ChatGPT’s success was antithetical to creating safe AI.

In September, Altman met investors in the Middle East to discuss an AI chip project. The board was concerned that he wasn’t sharing all his plans with it.

He also believed that Mr. Altman was bad-mouthing the board to OpenAI executives. Other employees have also complained to the board about Mr. Altman’s behavior.

The ouster was the culmination of years of tensions and divisions at OpenAI.

Microsoft, which had committed $13 billion to OpenAI, weighed in to protect its investment. Many top Silicon Valley executives and investors, including the CEO of Airbnb, also mobilized to support Altman.

From his $27 million mansion in San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood, Sam Altman, driven by a hunger for power more than by money, lobbied through social media and voice their displeasure in private text threads, according to the NYT, who interviewed more than 25 people with knowledge of the events.

On Nov. 21, Sam Altman returned as CEO of OpenAI.

The San Francisco OpenAI lab was founded by Elon Musk, Sam Altman, Ilya Sutskever, and nine others. Its goal was to build AI systems to benefit all of humanity.

Unlike most tech start-ups, it was established as a nonprofit with a board that was responsible for making sure it fulfilled that mission.