As I stated a few weeks ago on Substack Notes:

"Some people are saying the OpenAI fiasco was a coup by the board… I think it’s looking like a coup of the board by Altman.

The board was supposed to be focused on safe and ethical AI as a non-profit. Sam looks like he was violating that charter and hiding things.

So the board fired him as was their responsibility. Sam plays out this drama and this headline and blurb by Gizmodo nails what I think it was all about.

Economic boom…..screw AI doom.

I wonder how much Microsoft wanted that board, chartered for responsible AI, gone?"

Link to note since I can't add images here:


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Dec 5, 2023Liked by Gary Marcus

Eventually, we will find out, but it does rhyme with what I noticed as quite 'shifty' and 'shamanic' utterances about AGI. He has (almost concurrently even) pushed 'AGI (via LLMs) is Nigh' to more or less the opposite. That already were some warning signs about trustworthiness to me. But we'll see in the end.

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The sexism by so many in this community (AI, not the people commenting here) is really shocking, even after watching it for years.

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As it relates to Altman, all I have to say is Worldcoin, if that doesn’t tell you all you need to know about him, nothing will 😉. The person whom I believe has lost the most credibility however is Iliya. He was part of the board and was the one who communicated much of the situation leading to Sam’s ouster, but his joining the employees as a signatory to bring Sam back is a very bad look. I’m sure there are complexities here that may be hard to understand, but where your point on Sam’s potential misdeeds are a clear delineator for the board’s justified actions, Iliya’s actions here unnecessarily muddied the waters on what was going on, and called the board’s integrity into question.

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On Nov 19: "Give OpenAI's Board Some Time. The Future of AI Could Hinge on It" https://www.newcomer.co/p/give-openais-board-some-time-the

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Definitely stronger theory than all the stuff on Twitter, but I think all of the bullets you wrote in support of "not being consistently candid" could also be Sam playing the hand he's been dealt. Adam is on the board, and given what just happened, he needs to play nice. He gave up his own and Greg's seat yeah, but if he wasn't immediately reinstated OpenAI was going to bleed more customers, talent, investors, etc. He didn't really have a choice, I think the fact that it stretched out into Tuesday is good evidence that he was taking a deal that probably didn't check all his boxes. We talk about how this governance structure failed, but at least from the outside looking in, it does seem that it did successfully put up a pretty good fight with the worlds most powerful corporations and investors at least in some way.

I'm still of the opinion that there isn't a single big crime that Sam did that prompted the board to do what they did, perhaps a single moment that they trumped up as the final straw, but rather it seems that Sam might have been getting a little too slippery and the board decided enough was enough. If he's trying to boot off Helen over something as simple as speaking her mind, you have to ask yourself, when are you next? As with most things, there was probably a large web of incentives that converged on booting out Sam.

At this point, I imagine he's biding his time and letting the whole thing fall out of view. The board probably could find some way to trump up charges and have the investigation not go his way if they wanted to, he's has a massive portfolio of investments that surely are at odds with the nonprofit mission. However, if OpenAI continues to succeed under his leadership, I don't see any reason why all the players involved would want some investigation to come out against him. If he makes some money on the side through OpenAI's dealings, what does Microsoft or any of the monied interest (including most of the employees) care? They would probably prefer OpenAI as a more typical for-profit anyways.

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Does anybody still want to talk about how wonderful it will be to align AI with human values?

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“If the Board was making a step towards bringing them back to their original mission, of AI for human interest rather than for profit, we should be praising them, not burying them.”

True, but if that is indeed the case I think it would have helped the board massively if they themselves had been more candid about it

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Noted that the New Yorker article reported OpenAIs work on the rubik's cube without questioning its significance. This theory of how things went down makes the most sense of everything we've seen so far, and also lines of with reporting from Karen Hao, which I first encountered in a comedy video (from Morning Brew/Good Work). It also makes sense if you think of Altmas as a venture capitalistic - manipulating opinions to generate big valuations is his core competency. Not saving humanity.

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Good update on the situation. Please proofread, though.

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Gary, with all the money involved do you really think any “good” or genuine AI safety in the common good can come out of big tech? This is back to the era of kings and the aristocratic courts controlling the peasants. Technology might change but human nature remains the same. Money, power, control!

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I leave you to speculate on the nuance, correct details, and motivations for what happened. Recently, Sam Altman joined Joy Buolamwini @CWClub in San Francisco, talking about her book "Unmasking AI." He left quickly, avoiding the audience after the talk, but I got a photo and shared docs with Joy & yesterday with Dr. Fei-Fei Li's book tour @CWClub, "The Worlds I See," about my passion for a civics education law proposed in Congress back in 1979.

One simple provision in this complex bill was to keep the institution and possibility of a military draft as an insurance policy, which 60 Senators would need to support and a House majority to activate, assuming the President signed it into law after Congress voted to restart it. I say this first to be clear about the limitations of a much cheaper use "ONLY" in this bill of moving youth draft registration to 17th birthday, for all youth challenge to a one-year, on-and-off, 17 to 18 birthday local/nationwide talks on civic values/education and marketing of voluntary service-learning challenges to some sweat-equity experiences with local non-profits, AmeriCorps-civic service, or military service.

I have thank you letters from the Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush Jr., W.H. staff & administration. Since 9/11, I have had over 1000 photos with experts but nearly 0% feedback. This is one great mystery for this veteran with a degree in behavioral science.

I hope to shame leaders into acknowledging this solution, but everybody seems apathetic and indifferent to Congress debating this again in the recent past, or near future. Here are some links to more detailed current info about this topic area.

I hope Gary Marcus can acknowledge his understanding of this impossible dream of a simple, year-after-year, youth wake-up call in every zip code to local/nationwide civic values talks on their dreams balanced with the realities we live now in the 2020s between their 17th and 18th birthdays!

Now, I believe that AI might help me better reach out and hold accountable the human beings that should be responsible locally and nationwide to an awareness to the general public and Congress of how the details should work, and answers to all the paranoia that would kill this debate in Congress. Peter Jesella, @JesellaPeter per X now, and broken accounts but history details @pjesella, @NCMNPS.







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I was a little confused by who Swiahe was, but figured it out... :) (And yes, I still think you should hire an editor – there are at least 2 other typos – or at least read my article on Medium about how to use ChatGPT, haha, as a *low-level editor* :) ).

Anyway, Gary I think you are right about it being true that they were candid about him being less than candid, and would not have said that otherwise, under the circumstances. (And yes, I also think you're on-target with the straying from the stated mission and that being on Sam bit too). And, in part it was why I brought up the issue about his sister and the "slippery" nature of that whole deal too... it's just fits a psychological pattern (something I study), as it were. Yes, that's too psychological, and not a reason to play boardroom kick-the-king-off-the-chessboard, but it's also not 100% invalid...

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I'm not Tech. But you seem to have a hard time understanding what Altman is. May I suggest everyone take a moment and watch "The Player." It's free for Max subscribers. It's Robert Altman's (no relation, I think) take-down of the film industry's overlords, who are several layers removed from the actual creative efforts of that industry.

My big assumption is that managing Y Combinator does not make you a Hinton, LeCun, or Ng. Rather, something else.

Of course, there's also that Brooklyn blogger who posted Little Finger's "Chaos is a Ladder" speech praising Sam's ability to utilize a chaotic situation to his advantage. The part the blogger missed was Little Finger's persistent role in creating the very chaos in which he could excel.

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I support this theory, too. Having been in the game as an entrepreneur and investor (though at more minor scales and stakes than this situation), it makes sense that it’s just greed at play here. Like I wrote at the end of my recent post: https://open.substack.com/pub/honestai/p/restacking-useful-elements-on-the?r=gtmhh&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post

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I didn't get too wrapped up in the speculation, figuring eventually we'd find out the truth, and it'd be the most boring possible option. Then it turns out, just old fashioned corporate backstabbing by a dude trying to further enrich himself. Checks out.

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