OpenAI board allegedly learned about ChatGPT release from Twitter

Helen Toner, a former OpenAI board member, has spilled more beans on why the board decided to fire Sam Altman.

Toner appeared on The TED AI show podcast to shine more light on what actually happened when Sam Altman was briefly fired from OpenAI in November 2023.

The release of ChatGPT in November 2022 was news not only to the general public but also to the board.

“When ChatGPT came out in November 2022, the board was not informed in advance about that. We learned about ChatGPT on Twitter,” she said.

The podcast was apparently recorded a few weeks ago, and its release coincided with an op-ed in the Economist where Toner and another former OpenAI board member, Tasha McCauley, called for state regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) companies since “self-governance cannot reliably withstand the pressure of profit incentives.”

Toner believes that employees felt the pressure to reinstate Altman simply because they feared retaliation.

The TED AI podcast also shared a quote by Bret Taylor, a current OpenAI board member, saying that the majority of employees asked for Altman’s reinstatement.

“We are disappointed that Ms. Toner continues to revisit these issues,” Taylor said.

Recently, Ilya Sutskever, a scientist and one of the OpenAI board members who voted to remove Sam Altman as the company’s CEO last year, left the company. A month ago, the company fired two key researchers who were working on AI safety for alleged leaking.