OpenAI Board Learned About ChatGPT Launch on Twitter

OpenAI Board Learned About ChatGPT Launch on Twitter

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Helen Toner, a former OpenAI Board member involved in the ousting of CEO Sam Altman last year, revealed that the company’s board was unaware of the ChatGPT launch until it was released in November 2022.

Toner stated on Tuesday during an episode of “The Ted AI Show” podcast: “We found out about ChatGPT on Twitter.”

Toner’s comments come just two days after she criticized the management of OpenAI in an article published by The Economist, co-authored with Tasha McCauley, another former board member of OpenAI.

This marks the first time Toner has publicly spoken about the circumstances that led to Altman’s dramatic removal from the company he co-founded in 2015 and his swift reinstatement following employee protests.

On the podcast, Toner, currently the Director of Strategy at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, claimed that Altman made it difficult for the OpenAI board to perform its duties by withholding information, misrepresenting facts, and “sometimes” outright lying to the board. She added that Altman also concealed the company’s ownership structure from the board.

OpenAI Board Learned About ChatGPT Launch on Twitter

Toner stated: “Sam did not inform the board that he owned the OpenAI startup fund, despite consistently claiming to be an independent board member with no financial interest in the company.”

She noted that Altman’s actions “really harmed our ability to trust him,” by October 2023, the board was “already seriously discussing whether we needed to remove him.”

Toner also criticized Altman’s leadership regarding AI safety concerns. He often provided the board with inaccurate information about the company’s safety operations, “which meant the board couldn’t know how well these safety operations were functioning or what might need to change.”

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