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Former OpenAI board member explains why they fired Sam Altman

ChatGPT logo in mint green and black colors.
Illustration: The Verge

On November 17th, 2023, OpenAI’s board shocked everyone by suddenly ousting co-founder and CEO Sam Altman.

He had been overseeing one of the fastest-growing app launches in history with ChatGPT, so what happened? Former board member Helen Toner is filling in blank spaces in an interview on The TED AI Show podcast, providing her perspective on the events that caused board members to stop trusting Altman, as well as how he eventually returned.

In her telling, once the board decided they needed to bring in a new CEO, they felt the only way to make it happen was to go behind his back. “[I]t was very clear to all of us that as soon as Sam had any inkling that we might do something that went against him, he would pull out all the stops, do…

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