Why was Sam Altman fired? (Resolves to One by year end)
resolved Dec 13
Sam tried to out a board member
We won't know for sure by year end
Sister allegations
Non-sister sexual harassment
Corruption of officials
Fraud/stealing from the company
AI ethics (non-AGI)
Covered someone else's wrongdoings
Disagreements over OAI being a nonprofit
No major drama, just the result of many small misbehavings from Sam over regular course of business

This market resolves to my best understanding of what happened, based on flagship tech coverage (The Information, The Verge, NYT, WSJ...), as also public declarations of them. I'll wait for a complex of evidence to emerge. If I don't feel comfortable with any explanation, I'll resolve to We won't know for sure by year end.

I may add answers if you guys or myself feel like they are needed.

I won't bet.

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Altman approached other board members, trying to convince each to fire Toner. Later, some board members swapped notes on their individual discussions with Altman. The group concluded that in one discussion with a board member, Altman left a misleading perception that another member thought Toner should leave, the people said. 

By this point, several of OpenAI’s then-directors already had concerns about Altman’s honesty, people familiar with their thinking said. His efforts to unseat Toner, parts of which were previously reported by the New Yorker, added to what those people said was a series of actions that slowly chipped away at their trust in Altman and led to his unexpected firing on the Friday before Thanksgiving. 


Mr. Altman called other board members and said Ms. McCauley wanted Ms. Toner removed from the board, people with knowledge of the conversations said. When board members later asked Ms. McCauley if that was true, she said that was “absolutely false.”

“This significantly differs from Sam’s recollection of these conversations,” an OpenAI spokeswoman said, adding that the company was looking forward to an independent review of what transpired.

Some board members believed that Mr. Altman was trying to pit them against each other. Last month, they decided to act.

I am giving 48h before solving to Sam tried to oust a board member

@SirCryptomind when I'm back from lunch I'll solve it. It seems no one will try to argue against.

bought Ṁ100 of Sam tried to out a b... NO

From Time: https://time.com/6342827/ceo-of-the-year-2023-sam-altman
- "“four people who have worked with Altman over the years also say he could be slippery—and at times, misleading and deceptive. Two people familiar with the board’s proceedings say that Altman is skilled at manipulating people, and that he had repeatedly received feedback that he was sometimes dishonest in order to make people feel he agreed with them when he did not.”

  • On the “making the board think other board members’ wanted Toner out” allegation: “This episode did not spur the board’s decision to fire Altman, those people say, but it was representative of the ways in which he tried to undermine good governance, and was one of several incidents that convinced the quartet that they could not carry out their duty of supervising OpenAI’s mission if they could not trust Altman.”

  • “In a lot of ways, Sam is a really nice guy; he’s not an evil genius. It would be easier to tell this story if he was a terrible person,” says one of them. “He cares about the mission, he cares about other people, he cares about humanity. But there’s also a clear pattern, if you look at his behavior, of really seeking power in an extreme way.”"

@CalebW what would be the correct answer for you?

@MP If I had to resolve 100% to one and one only, I'd probably resolve to other or no major drama TBH - the specific act of him trying to oust Toner seems neither necessary or sufficient, as compared to a tendency of misleading/power-seeking. But I'd understand if you did resolve to he tried to oust a board member - it does seem to be the central example we are aware of at the moment.

If splitting was an option, atm I'd maybe resolve something like 50% he tried to oust, 30% other, 20% no major drama.

I'd probably welcome clarification from you around whether
(a) you'd resolve to tried to oust if the current apparent status quo holds of this being a central example but it being the pattern of deception/power-seeking that was the dominant reason holds
(b) whether a meaningful pattern of power-seeking/misleading but with no examples more egregious than 'he seems to get his way a lot', or 'people regularly came away with false impressions that others agreed with Sam on issues after speaking to him' counts as 'no major drama'
(c) whether it being confirmed he tried to oust toner, and that this and subsequent events weighed on the board, counts as 'major drama'

Speaking personally, this would probably help me steer my betting towards moreso trying to bet on facts rather than your interpretation :)

@CalebW I don't plan to split.

Also, I may need to say that TIME isn't flagship tech coverage, but the WSJ is.

@MP If one of the answers is "we won't know for sure", won't we have to know it is another option "for sure"?

@FrederickNorris We definitely know that the Toner Ouster was a significant factor, but part of a larger pattern. Personally I don't think that lying to board members to try to oust a board member is "the regular course of business" but that is pretty subjective. If I was going to write a new answer that rally sums it up, I'd say... "not consistently candid". But that's really dumb, isn't it?

Reposting my comments today from the Sophia market based on the new Bloomberg article:

@Joshua Frankly, it's why I thought "won't know for sure" was an absolute lock. Absent some official statement about it, we simply won't know "for sure" making this the best answer, and the others speculative.

We definitely know for sure that Sam was not candid in trying to oust Toner, and that this was part of a larger pattern of dishonesty that the board was concerned by. The Toner thing is specifically what's been emphasized by the flagship coverage more than anything else, and that seems especially important based on this market's resolution criteria.

bought Ṁ10 of We won't know for su... YES

@Joshua If the unknown option was "there won't be a strong consensus" I could see your point.

Unless something drastic happens between now and EOY, the best answer is "we don't know FOR SURE" (emphasis added)

@FrederickNorris But he said "my best understanding" in the description. I can see how those seem contradictory, but I think that people generally use "for sure" to mean much less than a 99.99...% chance. Up to MP though, of course.


yes, sure in the context of the mainstream tech media coverage.

  • it doesn't seem that distinct outlets are running opposing stories

  • More than one outlet are running the same story

Perhaps I should be more careful with my words, but as Bayesians who we are, we understand that when a baysian is colloquially saying "sure" it doesn't mean he'd bet infinity money on that opinion.

@MP In my opinion, there is still quite a bit of uncertainty as to what happened to cause such a prompt and decisive action, even given this reporting, such as it is.

Can you point to any flagship tech media article that would make you think that?

bought Ṁ100 of Sam tried to out a b... YES

New WSJ article posted to the main market, it has another Toner interview and again covers Sam misrepresenting board members' positions to other board members in trying to oust her.

Strictly speaking, one could argue that this should resolve to "lack of trust" or "not consistently candid", but since that was the thing they said from the very beginning I'm assuming that's not in the spirit of the market, and this is about what he was not consistently candid about specifically?

If so, I predict that ousting a board member will resolve to 100% unless we hear about something else that's a bigger deal.

@Joshua I'll read everything in the weekend, but I could see myself resolving to Tried to Oust a Board member if that's how you represented.

People that disagree can already start drafting your cases

@MP Curious for the traders, why we wouldn't know for sure by year end at 19%? Just radical uncertainty on how I'd resolve?

@MP Yeah I'm hesitant to bid uncertainty down in any subjective market even though I think we have a pretty good idea of things at this point

bought Ṁ40 of We won't know for su... NO

@MP Sometimes it is hard to convince myself to predict a NO on these types of markets.
With TPOTY though I have got much more comfortable.
My reason has nothing to do with what the outcome probably will be with this market whatsoever.

@MP "Oust" a board member? I was betting against Alman trying to expose a Board Member's hidden sexuality "out"-ing a Board Member. There's no way it could be that, I thought. Also, "trying to oust" isn't just bad mouthing, it should have to be actively organizing votes or other legal ways to get rid of a board member.

@FrederickNorris to me it seems you can try to Oust just by bad mouthing and getting most of the board on-board

@MP What does it take, under their corporate charter, to oust a board member? Unless we know that, I'm not sure how you can say that's what he was attempting by criticizing Toner's authorship of an article.

And I still point out, "ousting" a Board member is different from "outing" one. Someone this answer has taken off, when I dismissed it as being very unlikely.

@FrederickNorris *Somehow this answer has taken off, when I dismissed it as being very unlikely.

@MP I'm also interpreting "know for sure" as a pretty high bar. Speculation, rumors, unsourced quotes: do they tell us "for sure"?

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