Ex-OpenAI Board Member Refuses to Say Why She Fired Sam Altman

Mum’s The Word The now-former OpenAI board member who was instrumental in the initial firing of CEO Sam Altman has spoken — but she’s still staying mum on why she pushed him out in the first place. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, 31-year-old Georgetown machine learning researcher and erstwhile OpenAI board member Helen Toner was fairly open with her responses about the logistics of the failed coup at the company, but terse when it came to the reasoning behind it. “Our goal in firing Sam was to strengthen OpenAI and make it more able to achieve its mission,” the Australian-born researcher said as her only explanation of the headline-grabbing chain of events. As the New York Times reported in the midst of the Thanksgiving hubbub, Toner and Altman butted heads the month prior because she published a paper critical of the firm’s safety protocols (or lack thereof) and laudatory of those undertaken by Anthropic, which was created by former OpenAI employees who left over similar concerns. Altman reportedly confronted Toner during their meeting and because he believed, per emails viewed by the NYT, that “any amount of criticism from a board member carries a lot of weight.” After the tense exchange, the CEO brought his concerns about Toner’s criticisms up with other board members, which ended up reinforcing those board members’ own doubts about his leadership, the WSJ reports. Soon after, Altman himself was on the chopping block over vague allegations of dishonesty — although we still don’t know what…Ex-OpenAI Board Member Refuses to Say Why She Fired Sam Altman

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