Sam Altman faces more heat as he's accused of creating a 'toxic culture of lying' and using 'psyhcological abuse' at OpenAI just days after Scarlett Johansson accused him of appropriating her voice for ChatGPT

Two board members behind Sam Altman's ousting have broken their silenceIn November, the OpenAI CEO was ousted before returning to the role days later

Two of the board members involved in the short lived ousting of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman back in November have finally broken their silence about what occurred in a new opinion piece.

The lifting of the lid by former board members Helen Toner and Tasha McCauley comes a week after Altman was forced to apologize to Scarlett Johansson over accusations he okayed the use of her voice without proper permission.

In another controversy this month, one of OpenAI's Ilya Sutskever announced that he was leaving OpenAI for a 'very personal meaningful' project.

Altman has denied that Johansson's voice was used for the company's Sky platform despite the actor calling the voice 'eerily similar' and his tweeting of the word 'her' in announcing the launch.

Johansson starred in a movie about a robotic voice named Her in 2013.

Now, Toner and McCauley say in an Economist op-ed that senior leaders within the company felt in 2023 that Altman created a 'toxic culture of lying' and engaged in 'behavior [that can be characterized as psychological abuse.'

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has been accused of creating a 'toxic culture of lying' at his company

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has been accused of creating a 'toxic culture of lying' at his company

Tasha McCauley, a former OpenAI board member, is married to actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Helen Toner, an Australian native, was formerly a researcher before joining the board of OpenAI

Tasha McCauley, left, and Helen Toner, right, wrote an op-ed for The Economist in which they made new accusations against Sam Altman

Toner and McCauley went on to say that their decision to remove Altman was motivated by a desire to 'salvage' to OpenAI's regulatory structure.

The pair go on to accuse Altman's behavior of undermining 'the board's oversight of key decisions and internal safety protocols.'

The piece was published on May 26. They both wrote that when they joined OpenAI, they were 'cautiously optimistic' about the future of the company. At the time, OpenAI was a non-profit.

In the lead-up to Altman's ousting, Toner and McCauley said that members of the board began sharing their concerns about the CEO 'privately.'

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Sam Altman denies ChatGPT cloned Scarlett Johansson's voice after she declined his offer to join the project insisting they cast the voice before reaching out to Hollywood star

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'Developments since he returned to the company — including his reinstatement to the board and the departure of senior safety-focused talent — bode ill for the OpenAI experiment in self-governance,' they wrote.

'Even with the best of intentions, without external oversight, this kind of self-regulation will end up unenforceable, especially under the pressure of immense profit incentives. Governments must play an active role.'

They lament that OpenAI had the most potential of all companies developing the technology to remain ethical and self-govern. The pair also spoke against the lack of federal laws governing AI.

In November 2023, when Altman was temporarily ousted from his own company for a time, a statement said his removal was due to his 'not [being] consistently candid in his communications.' Altman returned to ChatGPT as CEO days after he was fired.

Ilya Sutskever, Russian Israeli-Canadian computer scientist and co-founder and Chief Scientist of OpenAI, left the company earlier this month

Ilya Sutskever, Russian Israeli-Canadian computer scientist and co-founder and Chief Scientist of OpenAI, left the company earlier this month

Scarlett Johansson, 39, says she 'was shocked, angered and in disbelief' claiming that the company OpenAI took her voice without her consent for a new ChatGPT project

Scarlett Johansson, 39, says she 'was shocked, angered and in disbelief' claiming that the company OpenAI took her voice without her consent for a new ChatGPT project

Sam Altman's statement on the controversy was issued on X in the wake of Johansson's damning allegations regarding the methods employed by OpenAI

Altman, the co-founder of the San Francisco-based company behind ChatGPT and a venture capitalist who Forbes says amassed much of his $1 billion through investments. 

His removal and subsequent reinstatement as CEO last November stunned the rapidly commercializing industry as internal conflicts threatened to sink one of the most sought-after voices on artificial intelligence.

This week, Altman attracted some positive press when he announced that he had joined its list of wealthy philanthropists committed to donating over half their fortunes.

'We would not be making this pledge if it weren't for the hard work, brilliance, generosity, and dedication to improve the world of many people that built the scaffolding of society that let us get here,' Altman wrote alongside husband and technology investor Oliver Mulherin.

'There is nothing we can do except feel immense gratitude and commit to pay it forward, and do what we can to build the scaffolding up a little higher.'

Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates and Warren Buffett founded the Giving Pledge in 2010 to foster a culture of philanthropy among the world’s wealthiest people to tackle urgent problems.

More than 240 signatories from 30 countries have committed to giving the majority of their wealth to charity, though critics argue there is little oversight to ensure that community members follow through on their vows.

In 2013, Johansson voiced Samantha, a virtual assistant to a lonely man (L, Joaquin Phoenix), in Spike Jonze's sci-fi romantic drama Her, which received rave reviews and earned $48.3 million at the global box office

In 2013, Johansson voiced Samantha, a virtual assistant to a lonely man (L, Joaquin Phoenix), in Spike Jonze's sci-fi romantic drama Her, which received rave reviews and earned $48.3M at the global box office

The Academy Award-nominated actress issued a statement via her publicist Marcel Pariseau to NPR, explaining the issue in detail on Monday

The Academy Award-nominated actress issued a statement via her publicist Marcel Pariseau to NPR, explaining the issue in detail on Monday

OpenAI first rolled out voice capabilities for ChatGPT, which included the five different voices, in September, allowing users to engage in back-to-forth conversation with the AI assistant.

'Voice Mode' was originally just available to paid subscribers, but in November, OpenAI announced that the feature would become free for all users with the mobile app.

And ChatGPT's interactions are becoming more and more sophisticated. Last week, OpenAI said the latest update to its generative AI model can mimic human cadences in its verbal responses and can even try to detect people's moods.

OpenAI says the newest model, dubbed GPT-4o, works faster than previous versions and can reason across text, audio and video in real time.

In a demonstration during OpenAI's May 13 announcement, the AI bot chatted in real time, adding emotion - specifically 'more drama' - to its voice as requested.

It also took a stab at extrapolating a person's emotional state by looking at a selfie video of their face, aided in language translations, step-by-step math problems and more.

GPT-4o, short for 'omni,' isn't widely available yet. It will progressively make its way to select users in the coming weeks and months. The model's text and image capabilities have already begun rolling out, and is set to reach even some of those that use ChatGPT's free tier - but the new voice mode will just be available for paid subscribers of ChatGPT Plus.

While most have yet to get their hands on these newly announced features, the capabilities have conjured up even more comparisons to the Spike Jonze's dystopian romance 'Her.'

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