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### Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, Takes Charge of ChatGPT Advancement

A child prodigy whose life was changed by a Macintosh computer, Altman dropped out of Stanford Univ…

All attention has been drawn to Sam Altman and the unfolding saga at OpenAI, the renowned artificial intelligence company where ChatGPT originated, captivating interest not only in Silicon Valley but also beyond. Despite initially being ousted, Altman received backing from tech behemoth Microsoft, which recently welcomed him aboard. Meanwhile, the OpenAI team reaffirmed their support for Altman. Nevertheless, even with his reinstatement as the head of OpenAI, the situation remains turbulent.

But who is this 38-year-old entrepreneur who has garnered support from Silicon Valley, Microsoft, and a significant portion of his team? Here’s what you need to know:

Sam Altman’s Remarkable Early Talent


Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, delivered a speech at the Apec CEO Summit in San Francisco, California, on November 16. The image above is courtesy of Getty Images.

At the young age of three, Altman repaired the family VCR, and by eight, his parents had bought a Macintosh LC II for him. This computer marked a significant turning point in his life, dividing it into a clear “before” and “after,” as detailed in New York Magazine.

Growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Altman is the eldest of four siblings, including sisters Max, Jack, and Annie, who is nine years younger. His parents, Jerry Altman and Connie Gibstine, worked as real estate brokers and a pediatrician, respectively. Reflecting on his upbringing to New York Magazine, Altman described, “I am a western Jew from an uncomfortable childhood at best.”

Jeff Bezos’ vast real estate holdings range from Indian Creek to New York.

Embracing Sexual Orientation in High School


Sam Altman giving a speech in February at an event hosted at the Microsoft office in Redmond, Washington. Image credit: Bloomberg

Altman’s coming out about his sexual orientation during high school, as highlighted in New York Magazine, came as a surprise to his family, who initially thought he was “unisexual.” Recalling his college days in a 2020 podcast, Altman mentioned the lack of an environment where openly discussing queerness was widely accepted.

Invited at 17 to speak on National Coming Out Day, Altman faced opposition from some quarters. He stressed the importance of nurturing an inclusive community, stating, “Either you have tolerance for an open community or you don’t, and you are not allowed to pick and choose.”

According to New York Magazine, Altman credited his parents for consistently showing him love and support, considering it one of the best things they ever did for him.

Departure from Stanford University


Sam Altman testifying on May 16 at a congressional hearing in Washington focusing on the ethical guidelines of AI. Image credit: EPA

In 2003, Altman enrolled at Stanford University, where he collaborated with his then-boyfriend Nick Sivo on Loopt, a geo-tracking application for locating friends, during his sophomore year. Simultaneously, he took part in Y Combinator’s Summer Founders program, eventually receiving a $6,000 grant from the U.S. government. Opting to prioritize his entrepreneurial ventures, Altman left Stanford in 2005.

Subsequently, Altman spent several months in Cambridge with fellow technologists, an experience marred by his contraction of dysentery due to intense work, as detailed in New York Magazine. Despite never receiving a diagnosis, he endured excruciating leg pain, bleeding lips, and profound exhaustion.

Although Loopt reached a valuation of \(175 million, its founders sold it for \)43 million in 2012. Altman and Sivo were in a relationship for nine years before parting ways following the sale of Loopt, according to The New Yorker.

Estimated Net Worth of $500 Million

At the youthful age of 28, Altman was chosen by Paul Graham, the founder of Y Combinator, to take over as president. While the exact amount remains undisclosed, multiple sources estimate Altman’s net worth to be around $500 million.

How does Altman spend his wealth? As per New York Magazine, he indulges in his passion for racing cars, owning five vehicles, including two McLarens and a vintage Tesla.

His Partner, Software Engineer Oliver Mulherin


Sam Altman and his partner Oliver Mulherin, both technology enthusiasts. Image credit: Getty Images

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Sharing a mutual passion for technology, Altman and Oliver Mulherin, a software engineer based in the San Francisco Bay area, are partners. Mulherin, previously employed as a specialist at Meta, holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Melbourne.

Altman revealed to The New York Times that he and Mulherin spend their weekends at a residence in Napa, California, after residing in San Francisco during the week. The couple has aspirations of starting a family in the near future, as disclosed in New York Magazine.

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Last modified: February 3, 2024
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