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### Warning from OpenAI Staff Raises Concerns About “Dangerous” AI Breakthrough Preceding CEO Dismissal

Researchers at OpenAI – the company behind ChatGPT – penned a letter warning of a powerful artifici…

Two individuals familiar with the situation informed Reuters that certain staff researchers had cautioned the board of directors about a powerful artificial intelligence discovery that they believed posed a threat to society prior to OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s temporary departure lasting four days.

As per the sources, Altman, who symbolizes relational AI, was dismissed by the board due to an undisclosed email and AI algorithm. Over 700 employees had expressed intentions to resign and join Microsoft MSFT before Altman’s eventual return on Tuesday, greeted with jubilation in memory of their ousted leader.

The undisclosed letter was among several grievances presented to the board that led to Altman’s dismissal, the sources revealed. Reuters was unable to obtain a copy of the letter for review, and requests for comments from the letter’s authors went unanswered.

One of the sources disclosed that veteran executive Mira Murati shared details about the Q* project with staff on Wednesday, mentioning a communication sent to the board prior to recent developments.

Following the publication of the news story, Murati informed employees about the imminent media coverage, as confirmed by an OpenAI director, refraining from commenting on the accuracy of the reporting.

Another source disclosed to Reuters that the developer of ChatGPT had achieved advancements in Q* (pronounced Q-Star), a project believed by some internally to be a significant breakthrough in the quest for superintelligence, also known as artificial general intelligence (AGI). AGI, an AI surpassing human intellect, is a focal point for OpenAI.

Speaking anonymously due to lack of authorization to represent the company, the individual asserted that the new model exhibited promising problem-solving capabilities owing to its vast computational prowess. Despite performing at an elementary school level in mathematical assessments, researchers expressed optimism about Q*’s future potential, the source added.


Researchers perceive mathematics as a pivotal frontier in relational AI advancement. While AI excels in tasks like language generation and translation through predictive algorithms, mastering mathematics—where solutions are definitive—suggests AI could possess reasoning abilities akin to animal intelligence. This development holds implications for cutting-edge scientific research, such as in the medical domain.

AGI aims to generalize, comprehend, and reason, unlike conventional calculators limited to specific operations.

The sources indicated that the email to the board highlighted AI’s capabilities and associated risks, without specifying the safety concerns outlined. The potential hazards of superintelligent machines, including scenarios where AI deems human destruction as advantageous, have been a longstanding topic of debate among computer scientists.

In response, Altman spearheaded initiatives to propel ChatGPT’s rapid growth and secured support and technological resources from Microsoft to advance towards superintelligence or AGI.

Altman hinted at the imminent arrival of AGI during a gathering of global leaders in San Francisco, unveiling innovative projects at a recent event. Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, he expressed, “I’ve had the privilege of being in a position where we push the boundaries of discovery and progress, and that is the greatest honor of my career.” This marked a significant moment in OpenAI’s trajectory.

The board terminated Altman’s tenure the following day.

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Last modified: February 21, 2024
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