Open AI staff warned its board about a powerful AI breakthrough that could pose threats to humanity, before CEO Sam Altman (pictured left) was fired then later rehired. Several researchers sent a letter to the directors warning the progress made on Project Q* had the potential to endanger humanity.
The previously unreported letter ultimately led to the removal of Altman, the creator of ChatGPT, and the ensuing chaotic five days within the startup company. Executive Mira Murati mentioned Q* to employees on Wednesday and disclosed a letter had been sent to the board before the events of this weekend. Altman had made progress on Q*, which some internal sources believe could be a breakthrough in the startup’s search for superintelligence.
OpenAI defines superintelligence, also known as artificial general intelligence, as AI systems that are smarter than humans. Sources cited the letter as one factor among a longer list of grievances by the board that led to Altman´s firing. DailyMail.com was unable to obtain or review a copy of the letter. Altman, OpenAI and researchers who wrote the letter did not comment on the information.
The news came shortly after Elon Musk posted another letter alleging Altman and his co-founder Greg Brockman of creating a hostile work environment. The letter allegedly written by former OpenAI employees details ‘dishonest’ and ‘manipulative’ leadership by Altman and Brockman. Specifically, they argue that ‘a significant number of OpenAI employees were pushed out of the company to facilitate its transition to a for-profit model.’ ‘Their methods, however, have raised serious doubts about their true intentions and the extent to which they genuinely prioritize the benefit of humanity,’ it reads. ‘These seem like concerns worth investigating,’ wrote the Tesla mogul who famously had a fallout with Altman several years ago about the leadership of the firm.
Commands that came from Sam that later resulted in the firing of employees who listened to him, and Greg (pictured) failing to use the appropriate language around a ‘gender-transitioning team member.’ The letter also accuses employees who remain at OpenAI for ‘blindly’ following Altman and Brockman’s leadership, ‘even at significant personal cost.’ ‘This unwavering loyalty stems from a combination of fear of retribution and the allure of potential financial gains through OpenAI’s profit participation units.’ Notably, when Altman was ousted last weekend, some 700 of the company’s employees threatened to quit and follow their leader to Microsoft, where he was headed at the time.
The letter of unknown origin ends by asking the newly appointed Board of Directors to ‘take a firm stand against these unethical practices and launch an independent investigation into Sam and Greg’s conduct.’ ‘The future of artificial intelligence and the well-being of humanity depend on your unwavering commitment to ethical leadership and transparency.’ Just five days after his shocking ouster, Altman made a stunning return on November 21 as CEO of OpenAI. ‘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,’ Altman said in a post on X early Wednesday morning.
He thanked Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella for helping to make the stunning reversal happen. ‘When i decided to join [Microsoft] on Sunday evening, it was clear that was the best path for me and the team. With the new board and with Satya’s support, I’m looking forward to returning to openai, and building on our strong partnership with [Microsoft].’ In a statement of his own, Nadella credited the changes to the board in getting Altman back to OpenAI. ‘We are encouraged by the changes to the OpenAI board,’ he wrote. ‘We believe this is a first essential step on a path to more stable, well-informed, and effective governance. Sam, Greg, and I have talked and agreed they have a key role to play along with the OAI leadership team in ensuring OAI continues to thrive and build on its mission. We look forward to building on our strong partnership and delivering the value of this next generation of AI to our customers and partners.’
OpenAI posted its own statement on X to confirm the announcement. ‘We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board of Bret Taylor (Chair), Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo,’ they wrote. ‘We are collaborating to figure out the details. Thank you so much for your patience through this.’ By Monday evening 747 out of 770 of the company’s employees had threatened to quit and join Microsoft if Altman, 38, was not reinstated. In an internal memo written by Vice President of Global Affairs Anna Makanju and seen by Bloomberg, employees were told on Monday that management was in touch with Altman, the new CEP Emmett Shear and the board ‘but they are not prepared to give us a final response this evening’.
Altman was pulled as CEO of ChatGPT-maker OpenAI over fears he was flouting the dangers of artificial intelligence , a report revealed. The concerns, aired by a fellow OpenAI board member, culminated with the 38-year-old’s sudden firing Friday – sending the tech world into frenzy, and a storm of speculation. Founded by Altman and ten others in 2015, OpenAI rolled out ChatGPT a year ago – and its ability to mimic human writing has proved polarizing ever since. Aside from sparking worry amongst the public, this uncertainty was apparently also felt within OpenAI’s six-person board.
Elon Musk founded OpenAI with Sam Altman, the company’s CEO, but in 2018 the billionaire attempted to take control of the start-up. His request was rejected, forcing him to quit OpenAI and move on with his other projects. Musk has since attacked the company and says the AI is ‘woke’ and deviates from OpenAI’s original non-profit mission. ‘OpenAI was created as an open source (which is why I named it ‘Open’ AI), non-profit company to serve as a counterweight to Google, but now it has become a closed source, maximum-profit company effectively controlled by Microsoft,’ Musk tweeted in February. He even signed a letter calling for a pause on the ‘dangerous race’ to develop AI, which they fear poses a ‘profound risk to society and humanity’ and could have ‘catastrophic’ effects.
Want more stories like this from the Daily Mail? Visit our profile page here and hit the follow button above for more of the news you need.
By Daily Mail Online, November 23, 2023