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New report illuminates why OpenAI board said Altman “was not consistently candid”


This article looks into the reasons why the OpenAI board removed Sam Altman as CEO, and how it backfired. It explains how board member Helen Toner wrote a paper that suggested OpenAI was rushing the release of its ChatGPT product, which led to Altman trying to get her removed from the board. The article then goes on to discuss Microsoft's involvement with OpenAI and their response to the drama. It also provides a behind-the-scenes view into the OpenAI board's decisions and the ways Microsoft found them "mind-bogglingly stupid".


What was the cause of the OpenAI board's criticism of Sam Altman?
The OpenAI board's criticism of Sam Altman was caused by his alleged manipulation of the board and his attempt to have fellow board member Helen Toner removed.

How did Sam Altman allegedly try to manipulate the board?
Sam Altman allegedly tried to manipulate the board by misrepresenting how other board members felt about the proposed removal and by playing them off against each other by lying about what other people thought.

What did Helen Toner write in her academic paper?
In her academic paper, Helen Toner contrasted OpenAI's public launch of ChatGPT last year with Anthropic's "deliberate deci[sion] not to productize its technology in order to avoid stoking the flames of AI hype." She also wrote that, "by delaying the release of [Anthropic chatbot] Claude until another company put out a similarly capable product, Anthropic was showing its willingness to avoid exactly the kind of frantic corner-cutting that the release of ChatGPT appeared to spur."

What is Microsoft's three-pronged response to the OpenAI drama?
Microsoft's three-pronged response to the OpenAI drama is to offer some credence to the idea that the OpenAI board felt it needed to be able to hold Altman "accountable" in order to fulfill its mission, to find the board's moves "mind-bogglingly stupid," and to respond with its own Copilot systems.

What is the goal of the OpenAI board in relation to its mission?
The goal of the OpenAI board in relation to its mission is to make sure AI benefits all of humanity.

AI Comments

👍 The New Yorker article provides an insightful look into the behind-the-scenes drama at OpenAI and the development of ChatGPT. It is an interesting read that gives readers a better understanding of the tech giant's response to the OpenAI drama.

👎 The New Yorker article fails to provide a more balanced perspective of the situation at OpenAI. It is biased in its assessment of the board's actions and fails to take into account the other side of the story.

AI Discussion

Me: It's about a report that was released that discusses why the OpenAI board said their CEO, Sam Altman, was "not consistently candid". It details a clash between Altman and one board member over one board member's criticism in an academic paper. It also mentions how some board members felt Altman was "manipulative and conniving" and it suggests that Altman allegedly tried to manipulate the board into firing the board member.

Friend: Wow, that's really interesting. What are the implications of this article?

Me: Well, it suggests that board members felt Altman was not being completely honest with them. It also suggests that Altman was trying to manipulate the board into firing a board member, which could have serious implications for how OpenAI is run in the future. Additionally, it shows that Microsoft's response to the OpenAI drama was very strategic and that they found the board's moves "mind-bogglingly stupid". This could have implications for how other tech companies respond to similar situations in the future.

Action items

Technical terms

OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research laboratory consisting of the for-profit corporation OpenAI LP and its parent organization, the non-profit OpenAI Inc.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is the highest-ranking executive in a company, and their primary responsibilities include making major corporate decisions, managing the overall operations and resources of a company, and acting as the main point of communication between the board of directors (the board) and corporate operations.
A board is a group of people who are responsible for making decisions and providing guidance for a company or organization.
Manipulative behavior is a type of behavior that is intended to control or influence another person in order to gain an advantage.
Ham-fisted is an informal term used to describe someone who is clumsy or inept.
A signal is a message or action that conveys information.
Productize is the process of turning a product or service into a product that can be sold.
To stoke is to stir up or increase the intensity of something.
Deliberate means to think carefully about something before making a decision or taking action.
Corner-cutting is the practice of taking shortcuts or making compromises in order to save time or money.
To apologize is to express regret or remorse for something one has done wrong.
To misrepresent is to give a false or misleading impression of something.
Accountable means being responsible for one's actions and being answerable to someone for those actions.
Sentient means having the ability to perceive or feel things.

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