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Sam Altman reveals his first meal after OpenAI ouster

As CEO of OpenAI, the last two years have been a whirlwind for Sam Altman.

Following the release of ChatGPT, Altman has been at the forefront of the AI ​​race. He met with world leaders, argued with Elon Musk, joined the billionaires club and was fired from the company he co-founded before quickly getting his way back.

If he had “a little more mental space to step back,” there would be something crazy to write down every day, Altman recently said on the technology podcast “The Logan Bartlett Show.”

But if he had to pick one surreal moment that stood out to him, he said it would be the four-day period in which he was ousted from OpenAI — not because of the actual ousting. If anything, the times were surreal because of the way he experienced what, in hindsight, was a very unusual series of events.

Altman describes this period as four and a half days of “insane super traffic jam” during which his body was in an “adrenaline-charged state.”

A day after his ouster, Altman said he received 10 to 20 text messages from presidents and prime ministers around the world. At the time, it seemed “totally normal” to him, and he responded to messages and thanked executives without feeling fazed.

“It was really weird,” Altman told podcast host Logan Bartlett. “It’s like not sleeping much, not really eating, having very high energy levels, very clear, very focused.”

After winning his reinstatement as CEO a few days later, he said he stopped at a restaurant on the way to Napa the day before Thanksgiving and realized he hadn’t eaten in days . So naturally, he ordered four “heavy” entrees, including “two milkshakes just for me,” he said.

Altman said the celebration meal was “very satisfying.”

But the CEO said the situation still didn’t really hit him until he received a text message from a president who said he was happy everything was resolved.

“Then it hit me like, oh yeah, like all these people had been texting me and it wasn’t weird,” Altman said.

Altman said what was strange was realizing that it should have been strange to have multiple world leaders texting him in this situation — but it wasn’t.

The CEO said the situation made him realize the ability of humans to adapt to all circumstances.

“My takeaway is that human adaptability to almost anything is much more remarkably strong than we think,” Altman said on the podcast. “And you can get used to just like the new normal, good or bad, pretty quickly.”

Altman said this isn’t the first time he’s learned this lesson, and he’s learned it several times over the past two years.

“But I think it says something remarkable about humanity and good for us and good as we look at this great transition,” he said.


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