Big Drama at OpenAI: the Q Star AGI Mystery Letter, Sam Altman Fired and Rehired, and Why It All Matters

The day before he was fired, Sam Altman said “Is this a tool we built, or a creature?” We discuss the Q* mysterious letter that warned the OpenAI board of a powerful AI discovery that could threaten humanity. Did OpenAI achieve AGI?

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We discuss the five days of chaos and drama at OpenAI: an industry poster-child CEO double-crossed by his chief scientist, a cloak and dagger board coup, fears of killer AI, and a dead-of-the-night staff revolution that changed the balance of global tech power. Also: while Sam Altman is a billionaire, his younger sister Annie has supported herself doing sex work, “both in person and virtually”, on OnlyFans. OpenAI has a very unusual structure: it is a for-profit company overseen by a nonprofit board with a corporate culture somewhere in between. This recent coup seems to have ousted the non-profit faction of OpenAI, the people who were concerned with artificial intelligence tech safety and ethics. Money won. We analyze how this shift might impact AI tech globally. We also discuss Q* (pronounced Q-Star) and if Open AI has gotten close to or even achieved AGI – Artificial General Intelligence, which is the step before Artificial Superintelligence ASI. Before OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s firing, several staff researchers – including Ilya Sutskever, the chief scientist - wrote a letter to the board of directors warning of a powerful artificial intelligence discovery that could threaten humanity. The day before he got fired, Sam Altman said “Is this a tool we have built or a creature we have built?” "Four times now in the history of OpenAI, the most recent time was just in the last couple weeks, I've gotten to be in the room, when we sort of push the veil of ignorance back and the frontier of discovery forward, and getting to do that is the professional honor of a lifetime," he said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. 1 2

We also talk about Sam Altman’s history and his achievements: Y Combinator (Stripe, Airbnb), Worldcoin (which uses a silver orb to scan people's eyeballs in exchange for crypto tokens and might be a useful to discern humans from AI online in the future), and of course, his personal life - specifically his relationship with his sister Annie Altman. While Sam Altman is a billionaire, his younger sister Annie has supported herself doing sex work, “both in person and virtually”, on OnlyFans. 3

The recent changes at OpenAI will impact all of us, so it’s important to understand the implications of these recent developments within the hottest company in tech right now. It is essential to put things into context and look at the global picture: US and China are in a race for AI supremacy. 4 5

1. Charlie Warzel The Money Always Wins The Atlantic, November 2023 

2. Anna Tong, Jeffrey Dastin and Krystal Hu OpenAI researchers warned board of AI breakthrough ahead of CEO ouster, sources say Reuters, November 2023 

3. Elizabeth Weil Sam Altman Is the Oppenheimer of Our Age OpenAI’s CEO thinks he knows our future. What do we know about him? INTELLIGENCER, September 2023 

4. David Brooks The Fight for the Soul of AI The New York Times, November 2023 

5. Dave Lawler How the U.S. is trying to stay ahead of China in the AI race Axios, June 2023