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The SEC is investigating OpenAI for the actions of its board of directors| GuyWhoKnowsThings

The Securities and Exchange Commission launched an investigation into OpenAI shortly after the company's board of directors unexpectedly deleted Sam Altman, its chief executive, late last year, three people familiar with the investigation said.

The regulator sent official requests to OpenAI, the developer of the online chatbot ChatGPT, seeking information about the situation. It is unclear whether the SEC is investigating Altman's behavior, the board's decision to remove him, or both.

Even as OpenAI has attempted to turn the page on the firing of Altman, who was soon refunded, controversy continues to dog the company. In addition to the SEC investigation, the San Francisco artificial intelligence company hired a law firm to conduct its own investigation into Mr. Altman's behavior and the board's decision to remove him.

The board fired Altman on Nov. 17, saying it no longer had confidence in his ability to run OpenAI. He said he had not been “consistently truthful in his communications,” although he did not provide details. He agreed to reinstate him five days later.

Privately, the board was concerned that Mr. Altman was Don't share all your plans to raise money from investors in the Middle East for an AI chip project, people with knowledge of the situation have said.

Spokespeople for the SEC and OpenAI and a lawyer for Altman declined to comment.

The SEC investigation was previously reported by The Wall Street Journal.

OpenAI kicked off an industry-wide AI boom in late 2022 when ChatGPT launched. The company is considered a leader in what is called generative AI, technologies that can generate text, sounds and images from brief prompts. A recent financing agreement values ​​the startup at more than $80 billion.

Many believe that generative AI, which represents a fundamental change in the way computers behave, could remake the industry as completely as the iPhone or the web browser. Others argue that the technology could cause serious damagehelping to spread disinformation online, replacing jobs at an unusual rate, and perhaps even threatening the future of humanity.

After the launch of ChatGPT, Altman became the face of the industry's push toward generative AI. relentlessly promoted technology, while recognizing the dangers.

In an effort to resolve the turmoil surrounding Altman's ouster, he and the board agreed to remove two members and add two others: Bret Taylor, a former Salesforce executive, and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers.

Altman and the board also agreed that OpenAI would begin its own investigation into the matter. That investigation, conducted by the WilmerHale law firm, is expected to close soon.

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