In a report by Elizabeth Dwoskin, Nitasha Tiku, we see that Sam Altman is just the tip of the AI iceberg.
Those who control AI control the world perception of Jews Vs. Arabs, Democrats Vs. Liberals, Abortion views, and government cash. AI controls what the public thinks.
The shocking ouster of Sam Altman, who negotiated his return as CEO of OpenAI, was not the first time the shrewd Silicon Valley operator (asshole/manipulator) has found himself on the outs.
It is “NOT POSSIBLE FOR HUMANS TO UNDERSTAND THE DANGER OF GOOGLE AND FACEBOOK’S Ai UNTIL THE LAST HUMAN IS ABOUT TO BE KILLED BY Ai” say experts!
Four years ago, Altman’s mentor, Y Combinator founder Paul Graham, flew from the United Kingdom to San Francisco to give his protégé the boot, according to three people familiar with the incident, which has not been previously reported.
Graham had surprised the tech world in 2014 by tapping Altman, then in his 20s, to lead the vaunted Silicon Valley incubator. Five years later, he flew across the Atlantic with concerns that the company’s president put his own interests ahead of the organization — worries that would be echoed by OpenAI’s board.
Though a revered tactician and chooser of promising start-ups, Altman had developed a reputation for favoring personal priorities over official duties and for an absenteeism that rankled his peers and some of the start-ups he was supposed to nurture, said two of the people, as well as an additional person, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to candidly describe private deliberations. The largest of those priorities was his intense focus on growing OpenAI, which he saw as his life’s mission, one person said.
A separate concern, unrelated to his initial firing, was that Altman personally invested in start-ups he discovered through the incubator using a fund he created with his brother Jack — a kind of double-dipping for personal enrichment that was practiced by other founders and later limited by the organization.
“It was the school of loose management that is all about prioritizing what’s in it for me,” said one of the people.
Graham did not respond to a request for comment.
Though Altman’s OpenAI ouster has been attributed in numerous news media reports to an ideological battle between safety concerns versus commercial interests, a person familiar with the board’s proceedings said the group’s vote was rooted in concerns that he was trying to avoid any checks on his power at the company — a trait evidenced by his unwillingness to entertain any board makeup that wasn’t heavily skewed in his favor.
Allegations of self-interest prompted Altman’s firing on Friday and jeopardized the first days of negotiations to broker his return to OpenAI, the leading artificial intelligence company responsible for ChatGPT. He announced he was returning as CEO in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday, along with a new board board comprised of allies.
Over the weekend, the four members of the original board, including three independent directors, had been willing to bring Altman back as CEO and replace themselves as long as Altman agreed to a group that promised meaningful oversight of his activities, according to the person familiar with the board, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.
Though the board met with and approved of one of Altman’s recommended candidates, Altman was unwilling to talk to anyone he didn’t already know, said the person. By Sunday, it became clear that Altman wanted a board composed of a majority of people who would let him get his way. Another person familiar with Altman’s thinking said he was willing to meet with the board’s shortlist of proposed candidates, except for one person whom he declined on ethical grounds.
The new board members announced as part of Altman’s reinstatement include Bret Taylor, formerly co-CEO of Salesforce and a Twitter board member, Larry Summers, former U.S. treasury secretary, along with Quora CEO and director Adam D’Angelo.
It was unclear Wednesday whether the group would be able to effectively steer the reinstated CEO’s ambitions. The board pushed back on Altman’s demands and ultimately settled on a few priorities: blocking Altman from a board seat, organizing a full and independent investigation of the company and ensuring that not all members of the current board resign, the person said.
OpenAI’s rapidly shifting and drama-filled boardroom saga, which has played out on social media, is a first for the fast-moving tech sector. But Altman’s clashes, over the course of his career, with allies, mentors and even members of a corporate structure he endorsed, are not uncommon in Silicon Valley, amid a culture that anoints wunderkinds, preaches loyalty and scorns outside oversight.
The same qualities have made Altman an unparalleled fundraiser, a consummate negotiator, a powerful leader and an unwanted enemy, winning him champions in former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky. Altman’s ability to inspire fealty from employees and faith in his mission was broadcast across X this weekend in a flood of heart emojis from OpenAI staffers and in threats from nearly all of the company’s 770-person workforce to quit unless he was reinstated.
“Ninety plus percent of the employees of OpenAI are saying they would be willing to move to Microsoft because they feel Sam’s been mistreated by a rogue board of directors,” said Ron Conway, a prominent venture capitalist who became friendly with Altman shortly after he founded Loopt, a location-based social networking start-up, in 2005. “I’ve never seen this kind of loyalty anywhere.”
But Altman’s personal traits — in particular, the perception that he was too opportunistic even for the go-getter culture of Silicon Valley — has at times led him to alienate even some of his closest allies, say six people familiar with his time in the tech world.
Many in Silicon Valley laud Altman’s strategic skill sets, including his ability to be a matchmaker among powerful people. People who know him say they have witnessed him pluck fledgling start-up founders, mentor them and make introductions for them that altered their careers. One of those people whose career Altman helped propel was Ilya Sutskever, chief scientist and board member at OpenAI — the person who ultimately fired him.
Keith Rabois, a general partner at the venture firm Founders Fund, said that Altman was one of only three people he consulted when he decided to leave his previous job to join his current firm. He said Altman, who officiated his wedding, had an uncanny knack for giving strategic advice, for negotiating business deals, and for spotting undiscovered talent. “He could tell right away who was destined for greatness — probably one of the five best people in all of Silicon Valley at doing that,” he said.
Rabois noted that Altman, as a Stanford dropout, persuaded a major telecommunications company to do business with his start-up Loopt — the same quality, he said, that enabled Altman to persuade Microsoft to invest in OpenAI.
“Insofar as he is polarizing, it’s because he is young, successful and ambitious, and people are envious,” he added.
Altman’s career arc speaks to the culture of Silicon Valley, where cults of personality and personal networks often take the place of stronger management guardrails — from Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX to Elon Musk’s Twitter. Altman’s practice of filling the board with allies to gain control is not just common, it’s start-up gospel from Altman’s longtime mentor, venture capitalist Peter Thiel.
But some of Altman’s former colleagues recount issues that go beyond a founder angling for power. One person who has worked closely with Altman described a pattern of consistent and subtle manipulation that sows division between individuals.
A former OpenAI employee, machine learning researcher Geoffrey Irving, who now works at competitor Google DeepMind, wrote that he was disinclined to support Altman after working for him for two years. “1. He was always nice to me. 2. He lied to me on various occasions 3. He was deceptive, manipulative, and worse to others, including my close friends (again, only nice to me, for reasons),” Irving posted Monday on X.
Irving did not respond to The Post for a request for comment.
The board’s startling, though short-lived, decision to fire Altman came as he appeared to be on an upswing. Only a year after launching ChatGPT, OpenAI was by far the hottest consumer company in Silicon Valley. At the company’s recent Dev Day, Altman presented as a millennial Steve Jobs — and announced plans for the company to become the dominant platform in generative AI. As the face of the company, and the AI boom, he was on the precipice of transitioning to a new entrant in the Big Tech pantheon.
Within some tech and AI circles, however, the knives were out for Altman. A growing group alleges that Altman has used his shrewd maneuvering to stifle smaller open-source competitors, in this case to secure the future for his company and employees.
AI executives, start-up founders and powerful venture capitalists had become aligned in recent months, concerned that Altman’s negotiations with regulators were dangerous to the advancement of the field. Although Microsoft, which owns a 49 percent stake in OpenAI, has long urged caution to regulators, investors have fixated on Altman, who has captivated legislators, and embraced his summons to Capitol Hill.
Though full reasoning for Altman’s initial firing is still unclear, the person familiar with the proceedings said there was no single catalyst. The board’s independent directors remained united during negotiations and stood by their decision. It was hard work to find new board members they believed would be able to stand up to Altman, the person said.
“Sam lives on the edge of what other people will accept,” said one of the people who had worked with him closely. “Sometimes he goes too far.”
In a post on X announcing his return, Altman wrote, “i love openai, and everything i’ve done over the past few days has been in service of keeping this team and its mission together.”
The mystery surrounding the brief dismissal of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman last Friday, who has since been reinstated, might revolve around a Reuters report that suggests Altman’s removal was due to a breakthrough in artificial general intelligence (AGI), which could threaten humanity.
In the days before Altman was sent off into exile, several staff researchers penned a letter to the board about a significant breakthrough – called Q* and pronounced Q-Star – that allowed the AI model to “surpass humans in most economically valuable tasks.”
Reuters sources said the AI milestone was one of the significant factors that led to the board’s abrupt firing of Altman last Friday. Another concern was commercializing the advanced AI model without understanding the socio-economic consequences.
The source said the model could solve mathematical problems but only “on the level of grade-school students, acing such tests made researchers very optimistic about Q*’s future success.”
Also, before Altman was sacked, he might have referenced Q* at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in San Francisco:
“Four times now in the history of OpenAI—the most recent time was just in the last couple of weeks—I’ve gotten to be in the room, when we sort of push the veil of ignorance back and the frontier of discovery forward,” said Altman.
My prediction is that a few weeks ago the team at OpenAI demoed either a machine that showed consciousness or AGI and Sam didn’t immediately tell the board and their feelings were hurt. pic.twitter.com/IUDcHiIwIU
— Dan Siroker (@dsiroker) November 18, 2023
An internal conflict at OpenAI has surfaced and is rooted in an ideological battle between those pushing for rapid AI advancement and those advocating for a slower, more responsible approach to development.
Reuters spoke with an OpenAI spokesperson who confirmed the existence of the project Q* and the letter to the board before Altman’s firing.
So why is Q* a breakthrough?
Well, as tech blog 9to5Mac explains:
Currently, if you ask ChatGPT to solve a math problems, it will still use its predictive-text-on-steroids approach of compiling an answer by using a huge text database and deciding on a word-by-word basis how a human would answer. That means that it may or may not get the answer right, but either way doesn’t have any mathematical skills.
OpenAI appears to have made a breakthrough in this area, successfully enabling an AI model to genuinely solve mathematical problems it hasn’t seen before. This development is said to be known as Q*. Sadly the team didn’t use a naming model smart enough to avoid something which looks like a pointer to a footnote, so I’m going to use the Q-Star version.
Q-Star’s current mathematical ability is said to be that of a grade-school student, but it’s expected that this ability will rapidly improve.
This technological development could be some of the first signs AGI, a form of AI that can surpass humans, is imminent for commercialization.
AGI has the potential to surpass humans in every field, including creativity, problem-solving, decision-making, language understanding, etc., raising concerns about massive job displacement. A recent Goldman report outlines how 300 million layoffs could be coming to the Western world because of AI.
The Q* breakthrough and the rapid advancement of this technology now make sense why the board abruptly fired Altman for his rush to develop this technology without studying the model’s impact on how it threatens humanity.
Altman recently said, “I think this is like, definitely the biggest update for people yet. And maybe the biggest one we’ll have because from here on, like, now people accept that powerful AI is, is gonna happen, and there will be incremental updates… there was like the year the first iPhone came out, and then there was like every one since.”
A day before Sam was fired, he gave this chilling speech:
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This timeline would add up with the recent discovery of Q*. pic.twitter.com/BnjcHsdSnl
— Rowan Cheung (@rowancheung) November 23, 2023
Meanwhile, Musk, who has been warning about AI threatening humanity, called the Reuters report “Extremely concerning.”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 23, 2023
Adding this hilarious tweet:
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 23, 2023
Suppose AGI is here (or nearing). The next couple of years are going to be wild.