Sam Altman is widely credited for some kind of level 1000 verbal bamboozling skill.
Still difficult to comprehend what prompted the former board to strike this own goal of - at least on the interwebs - epic proportions.
D’Angelo’s continued presence on the new board seems to support the hypothesis that it was Helen Toner and Tasha McCauley who led (?) or inspired (?) the move to fire Altman and Brockman.
Board drama circa 2023 seems to involve a lot of tweeting and emojis. The WSJ reported yesterday on the “behind the scenes” and included this new (to this correspondent) insight into the dynamics (source)
The specter of effective altruism had loomed over the politics of the board and company in recent months, particularly after the movement’s most famous adherent, Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX, was found guilty of fraud in a highly public trial.
Some of those fears centered on Toner, who previously worked at Open Philanthropy. In October, she published an academic paper touting the safety practices of OpenAI’s competitor, Anthropic, which didn’t release its own AI tool until ChatGPT’s emergence.
“By delaying the release of 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,” she and her co-authors wrote in the paper.
Altman confronted her, saying she had harmed the company, according to people familiar with the matter. Toner told the board that she wished she had phrased things better in her writing, explaining that she was writing for an academic audience and didn’t expect a wider public one. Some OpenAI executives told her that everything relating to their company makes its way into the press.
Between the lines, and despite the proliferation of heart emojis, it seems like Toner’s actions may have been informed by her resentment of the path OpenAI was taking.
The article also reports
The board agreed to discuss the matter with their counsel. After a few hours, they returned, still unwilling to provide specifics. They said that Altman wasn’t candid, and often got his way. The board said that Altman had been so deft they couldn’t even give a specific example, according to the people familiar with the executives.
That seems immature and not serious.