TW: Sexual assault, abuse, child abuse, suicidal ideation, severe mental illnesses/trauma, graphic (sexual) langauge
 

This post aims to aggregate a collection of statements made by Annie Altman, Sam Altman's (lesser-known) younger sister, in which Annie asserts that she has suffered various (severe) forms of abuse from Sam Altman throughout her life (as well as from her brother Jack Altman, though to a lesser extent.) 

Annie states that the forms of abuse she's endured include sexual, physical, emotional, verbal, financial, technological (shadowbanning), pharmacological (forced Zoloft), and psychological abuse.

I do not attempt to speak for Annie; rather, my goal is to provide an objective and unbiased aggregation of the claims Annie has made, as well as of relevant media surrounding this topic.

I have made this post because I think that it is valuable to be aware of the existence of the claims that Annie has made against Sam, given his strong influence over the development and alignment of increasingly powerful AI models. I have also made this post because I think that these claims are not covered well elsewhere (at least, at the time of this post's writing.)

Disclaimer: I have tried my best to assemble all relevant information I could find related to this (extremely serious) topic, but this is likely not a complete compendium of information regarding the (claimed) abuse of Annie Altman by Sam Altman.

Disclaimer: I would like to note that this is my first post on LessWrong. I have tried my best to meet the writing standards of this website, and to incorporate the advice given in the New User Guide. I apologize in advance for any shortcomings in my writing, and am very much open to feedback and commentary.

 

Relevant excerpts from Annie's social media accounts

c.f. Annie Altman's:

Note: throughout these excerpts, I'll underline and/or bold sections I feel are particularly important or relevant.

From her X account

  1. https://twitter.com/phuckfilosophy/status/1635704398939832321
    1. "I’m not four years old with a 13 year old “brother” climbing into my bed non-consensually anymore. (You’re welcome for helping you figure out your sexuality.) I’ve finally accepted that you’ve always been and always will be more scared of me than I’ve been of you."
      1. Note: The "brother" in question (obviously) being Sam Altman.
    2. https://twitter.com/phuckfilosophy/status/1709629089366348100
      1. "Aww you’re nervous I’m defending myself? Refusing to die with your secrets, refusing to allow you to harm more people? If only there was little sister with a bed you could uninvited crawl in, or sick 20-something sister you could withhold your dead dad’s money from, to cope."
  2. https://twitter.com/phuckfilosophy/status/1568689744951005185
    1. "Sam and Jack, I know you remember my Torah portion was about Moses forgiving his brothers. “Forgive them father for they know not what they’ve done” Sexual, physical, emotional, verbal, financial, and technological abuse. Never forgotten."
    2. https://twitter.com/phuckfilosophy/status/1708193951319306299
      1. "Thank you for the love and for calling I spade a spade. I experienced every single form of abuse with him - sexual, physical, verbal, psychology, pharmacological (forced Zoloft, also later told I’d receive money only if I went back on it), and technological (shadowbanning)"
    3. https://twitter.com/phuckfilosophy/status/1459696444802142213
      1. "I experienced sexual, physical, emotional, verbal, financial, and technological abuse from my biological siblings, mostly Sam Altman and some from Jack Altman."
  3. https://twitter.com/phuckfilosophy/status/1709978285424378027
    1. "{I experienced} Shadowbanning across all platforms except onlyfans and pornhub. Also had 6 months of hacking into almost all my accounts and wifi when I first started the podcast"
    2. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=37785072, https://twitter.com/JOSourcing/status/1710390512455401888
      1. Some commenters on Hacker News claim that a post regarding Annie's claims that Sam sexually assaulted her at age 4 has been being repeatedly removed.
  4. https://twitter.com/phuckfilosophy/status/1459696500540248068
    1. "I feel strongly that others have also been abused by these perpetrators. I’m seeking people to join me in pursuing legal justice, safety for others in the future, and group healing. Please message me with any information, you can remain however anonymous you feel safe."
  5. https://twitter.com/phuckfilosophy/status/1709629659242242058
    1. "This tweet endorsed to come out of my drafts by our Dad ❤️ He also said it was “poor foresight” for you to believe I would off myself before ~justice is served~"
  6. https://twitter.com/phuckfilosophy/status/1640418558927863808
    1. (Jokingly) "{Sam's 'nuclear backpack'} may also hold our Dad and Grandma’s trusts {which} him {Sam} and my birth mother are still withholding from me, knowing I started sex work for survival because of being sick and broke with a millionaire “brother”"
    2. A reply to Annie's post: "https://nymag.com/intelligencer/article/sam-altman-artificial-intelligence-openai-profile.html… I feel like you are misrepresenting things here. If the article is correct of course. "Sam offered to buy Annie a house." Isn't that a big financial help?"
      1. Annie's replies: 
        1. https://twitter.com/phuckfilosophy/status/1709978018364723500
          1. "There were other strings attached they made it feel like an unsafe place to actually heal from the experiences I had with him."
        2. https://twitter.com/phuckfilosophy/status/1709977862252658703
          1. "The offer was after a year and half no contact {with Sam}, and {I} had started speaking up online. I had already started survival sex work. The offer was for the house to be connected with a lawyer, and the last time I had a Sam-lawyer connection I didn’t get to see my Dad’s will for a year."
  7. https://twitter.com/phuckfilosophy/status/1710039207878734139
    1. "I was too sick for “normal” standing jobs. Tendon and nerve pain, and ovarian cysts. “Pathetic” to you seems to mean something outside of your understanding"
  8. https://twitter.com/phuckfilosophy/status/1655474350777311233
    1. Annie states that (Sam's) technological abuse (shadowbanning) has made it hard for her to make an income / financially support herself.
    2. She refers to Sam as her "first client" in her (current) sexual line of work.
    3. "{I have been} under the thumb of this deeply depressed human {Sam Altman}, dealing with his guilt about our dad dying much earlier than he needed to - because our dad was not given money while he was alive, even though he'd had heart issues, and was 67 - can you imagine being a fucking multimillionaire and not giving your dad -- that's for me to talk about in therapy"
    4. Context: Annie is (somewhat jokingly) talking about making shirts saying she survived Sam Altman's shadowbanning. "The shirts - they're gonna say 'I survived Sam Altman's shadowbanning.' And it's gonna be such a clusterfuck - because the longer that this has gone on - and it's been 4 years now - I no longer care about sounding like a crazy person. There's so much proof - go to my Instagram for "Hi Censorship" highlights. Also, the amount of friends I have had and tested things out with - and seen, when they share things, {versus} when I share things; sharing anything about the podcast..."
  9. https://twitter.com/phuckfilosophy/status/1649586084928704512
    1. "I got diagnosed with PCOS, and got walking boot for a third time in 8 years for the same tendinopathy, all in the first year of grieving my Dad."
    2. "I had a history since childhood of OCD, anxiety, depression, IBS, disorder eating - all covers for PTSD. Also tonsillitis yay"
    3. "I got notified almost exactly a year after his death about my Dad leaving me money, so make a plan to stop working for 6 months and focus on my health. 
    4. "I got notified almost exactly a year after his death about my Dad leaving me money, so make a plan to stop working for 6 months and focus on my health. I had started a podcast and had other art proects I could do sitting down!"
    5. "After quitting my dispensary job, my relatives find a loophole to withhold said money. They knew the health conditions and my plan, and they're millionaires. I sell some things, go back to an older job, and eventually ask (for the first time ever) my millionaire relatives for financial help and am essentially told to "work harder." I got $100 for an ankle MRI copay, after much 'discussion'"
    6. "I do two family therapy sessions and am professionally advised to stop doing family therapy sessions."
    7. "I move back to Big Island so I can work trade for rent, be around community, and actually heal. I'm offered {by Sam} a diamond made from Dad's ashes instead of money for rent or groceries. Dad just wanted cremation."
    8. "I go {opt for} no contact with relatives."
    9. "I start spicy work which ends up being way more therapeutic than anticipated, though definitely challenging."
    10. "I end up moving to Maui. Unemployment comes through after identity theft, so I have a deposit {on?} a place to live."
    11. "I have two years of remembering horrific things I'd buried and told myself I made up, and experience adult SAs that brought up even more memories."
  10. https://twitter.com/phuckfilosophy/status/1697712455013847372
      1. Note: this poem seems to be pretty clearly talking about Sam.

 

From her Instagram account

  1. https://www.instagram.com/p/CtetAsfpmhb/
    1. "If the multiverse is real, I'd love to meet the version of me who did run away to the circus at 5 years old after telling her birth mother about wanting to end this life thing and being touched by older siblings, and said "mother" decided to instead protect her sons and demand to receive therapy and chores only from her female child."
  2. https://www.instagram.com/p/CuXd3H0u0e3/
    1. "Yeah I was super sick...and houseless...and sucking "parts" for...{money?}...and so now -- well, first of all, 'cause that was some outrageously good fuckery (abuse), and -- now I'm un-fuck-with-able!"
  3. https://www.instagram.com/p/CtIzt-uudhr/
  4. https://www.instagram.com/p/Cpx3evHv1F0/
    1. "Reposting for you to read before you reach out about OpenAI and ChatGPT.

      I’m just at the light at the end of tunnel of four years of being sick and broke and shadowbanned. I’d do it again to go no contact and feel physically and emotionally safe for the first time in my life.

      Yes business life and personal life and different, and also “how you do anything is how you do everything.” Please vote with your dollars, your attention, and your truth.

      #truthcomesouteventually #trueshit #allhumansarehuman"
      1. Note: when Annie says "go no contact", she's referring to the decision she made to refuse Sam Altman's offer to buy her a house (an offer which she Annie feels was not borne of graciousness but rather as a desire to exact greater control over and suppression of Annie (who had begun to speak out against Sam on the Internet)) and thus avoid contact with her family, a decision she upheld even when (according to her) she was dealing with extreme sickness, mental illness / anguish, shadowbanning, and poverty.
  5. https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17865620213032124/
    1. Here, Annie provides a set of screen captures (in the form of an Instagram story called "Hi censorship") showing instances she's identified as shadowbanning / unusual activity surrounding various posts she's made on social media. 
  6. https://www.instagram.com/p/CxliM2oyXBY/
    1. "Victim mentality or survivor mentality? Did that happen “to you” or “for you”? (Note to watch out for spiritual bypassing and erasure of real experiences in your ~reflecting~)

      I survived Achilles and posterior tibial tendinopathy. I survived posterior tibial nerve pain that radiated to my ankle, knee, and pelvis. I survived PCOS and those particular ovarian cysts that got intense enough to warrant scans. I survived IBS and every single disordered eating game.

      I survived listening to my body fall apart as it told me the stories I had not yet been ready to hear the full depths of. I survived 18 months of nearly all-day PTSD flashbacks of childhood assaults.

      I survived my Dad’s will being withheld for over a year, and money he left me being withheld by millionaires relatives. I survived the grief of my decision to go no-contact with said relatives.

      I survived being shadowbanned across multiple accounts, while attempting to make a livable income online. I survived an in-person profession that was a plan Z last resort, and learned and was therapized by it.

      I survived every form of ab*sive behavior. I survived relatives telling and showing me I was “crazy” for pointing out said ab*se.

      I survived grieving my Dad and somehow got even closer with him, and yes forever grieving.

      I survived myself.

      #everyoneisgoingthroughsomething #allhumansarehuman #thehumannie #trueshit #truthcomesouteventually"
  7. https://www.instagram.com/p/CxgtpcwvP4w/
    1. "Hello Internet. I've gotten myself into a very difficult position, as I've been unable to work as much as I've needed due to my mental health and physical health. I put myself in a financially risky position to pursue my one woman show and podcast, and then had unexpected costs with health and technical difficulties. I'm dealing with the consequences of my own decisions and I need help. My Venmo is @Annie-Altman if you're able.

      In this calendar year I observed the one year anniversary of my dad's death, discussed another mental health label to add to my collection, got diagnosed with PCOS (scans to rule out adrenal tumors, pelvic ultrasounds, blood tests), had IBS flare up again, had a long-term achilles injury flare up the longest I've experienced it, had almost all of my personal accounts have attempted or successful logins, had people logging on my wifi and other wifi issues (4 new modems, had excessive cell phone service issues, the pity-party list continues. I'm beyond my capacity of what I can handle alone. I -"
    2. "#fbf to a silly and sad Annie, “putting herself in a position” to save other people who were harming her.

      I’ve since learned part of personal accountability can be noticing my own savior complex, and allowing someone else to experience the consequences of their decisions.

      Third sentence there ought to have read 'My millionaire relatives are refusing to give me help, and are withholding money from my dead Dad that I quit a job because of, while sick and in paperwork process to receive what he left in my name.'"
  8. https://www.instagram.com/p/CxOgnm4yWHY/
    1. "Almost all of my social media accounts have been/are shadowbanned, and this is an unfortunate truth for many. OpenAI would be tagged here also if they had a account.

      It started for me before any swork {sex work} started. I don't mean that this account would be at 100K or some set number. I do mean it makes no sense to be unable to pass 1K, with over 100 podcasts and other creations, and consistent posting.

      Old videos wil {sic} get reduced to something like 2 views on @instagram and @youtube , podcast rating get frequently deleted on @apple @applepodcasts , people will get automatically unfollowed, posts will be restricted in who sees them, and more.

      It's been really demoralizing on a lot of levels, which is part of the purpose of shadowbanning. The other purpose of shadowbanning is direct repression of ways I can support myself with my art, like my @etsy and @patreon , or podcast ads for @anchor.fm ."

 

From her Medium account

  1. Reclaiming my memories - published Nov 8, 2018
    1. "Two months ago I met with Joe K, the owner of Urban Exhale Hot Yoga, to discuss the podcast episode we were going to record together. (I have since recorded podcasts with four other teachers at the studio and am completely unsure how to express my gratitude to Joe — honestly perhaps less words about it?) While I would be the one asking Joe questions on the podcast, he had an important question for me. With all the casual profundity of a yoga teacher, Joe asked, “what is your earliest memory?

      Without pause for an inhale I responded, “probably a panic attack.” I feel like Joe did his best asana poker face, based on projecting my own insecurities and/or the hyper-vigilant observance that comes with anxiety.

      I began having panic attacks at a young age. I felt the impending doom of death before I had any concept of death. (Do I really have any concept of death now, though? Does anyone??) I define panic attacks as feeling “too alive,” like diving off the deep end into awareness of existence without any proper scuba gear or knowledge of free diving. Panic attacks, I’ve learned, come like an ambulance flashing lights and blaring a siren indicating that my mind and my body are… experiencing a missed connection in terms of communication — they’re refusing to listen to each other. More accurately: my mind is disregarding the messages from my body, convinced she can think her way through feelings, and so my body goes into panic mode like she’s on strike."
    2. Annie then basically proceeds to mention that "panic attack" doesn't quite feel like her first memory, but doesn't decisively settle on a "first memory." She concludes the article: "TBD on the first memory of that history. Here’s to exploring."
      1. This becomes relevant later on, as Annie ends up remembering an earlier memory than her panic attacks - Sam sexually assaulting her.
  2. Period lost, period found - published Feb 21, 2019
    1. Annie started taking Zoloft at age 13 to help with symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Anxiety, and Depression.
    2. Annie tapered herself off of Zoloft at age 22.
    3. Annie graduated from college with a major in Biopsychology, a minor and dance, and also completed all of the prerequisite courses for medical school.
    4. After graduation, Annie chose not to pursue a pre-med route, opting instead to focus on movement, writing, comedy, music, and food. She got certified as a yoga teacher, worked for an online CSA (community-supported agriculture) company, began writing more frequently, started slowly going to open mic nights and putting videos on YouTube, and began a podcast and this blog.
  3. 18 reasons I spent 18 years criticizing my appearance - published Mar 6, 2019
    1. Annie lists various reasons, including many related to mental illness and body image issues.
  4. An open letter to relatives - published Sep 22, 2020
    1. As I'll get to later on, I'm pretty sure that Annie published this shortly after (as she claims):
      1. Her millionaire relatives (esp. Sam and her mother) exploited a loophole to screw her out of the money that her Dad left for her in his will
      2. Sam (through lawyers) told Annie she'd have to get back on Zoloft if she wanted the money
      3. Annie had (and still was having?) extremely intense, nearly all-day PTSD flashbacks of the sexual assault she experienced in her childhood from Sam Altman, plus other forms of assault from all members of her nuclear family (except her Dad, I think.)
      4. Annie had started publicly speaking out against Sam on social media, though this received surpisingly little attention/audience, which Annie thinks is due to Sam shadowbanning her posts.
    2. In light of this, to me, this letter seems to be somewhat sarcastic. Annie is "thanking" her relatives in a way that carries subliminal criticisms. 
    3. Example: "Thank you for strengthening my sense of self. I am where I am and doing what I’m doing in part because of each of you. My tenacity and gentleness to take care of myself has increased because of you. The lessons I’ve received from my relationships with you have shifted my perspectives beyond their limitations. Thank you for providing contrast." -- What I think Annie is referencing here is how her relatives screwed her out of her money and (esp. Sam) abused her for a very long time. To this, she had to adapt by developing better ways to take care of herself, and was also forced to move around in a state of relative financial poverty. 
      1. As with the rest of the letter, Annie includes seemingly-upbeat, purposefully vague one-liners throughout the letter, such as "Thank you for providing me with contrast." (The implied negative connotation isn't too hard to infer.)
  5. An Open Letter To The EMDR Trauma Therapist Who Fired Me For Doing Sex Work - published Jun 7, 2021
    1. It seems Annie was trying to use EMDR to heal her PTSD, which, as she claims, resulted from having flashbacks to and stronger memories the abuse, e.g. sexual abuse from Sam, that she was subjected to during her childhood.
    2. It seems her therapist rejected her as a client on the basis of her position as a sex worker.

 

From her podcast

  1. 21. Podcastukkah #5: Feedback is feedback with Sam Altman, Max Altman, and Jack Altman - All Humans Are Human | Podcast on Spotify. - published Dec 7, 2018
    1. A relevant snippet begins around ~24:30. 
      1. Context: "projection" is a recurring motif of discussion throughout the podcast episode.
      2. Annie: "This is where, well -- I do believe that projecting can be deflecting and it can be another buzzword in a lot of ways, and also, as you brought up, it points to very intense feelings and very, as you brought up Max {Altman}, {with the} human psychology of things, of, in some ways, we're wired to remember painful experiences so that we do learn from them, and so - to remember negativity, and to remember those things --"
      3. Sam {interjecting}: "More than that, I think one thing we're particularly wired for, I don't know why, is to not like hypocrisy..."
    2. Note: as reported in Elizabeth Weil's nymag article, Sam (and Jack) refuse (Annie's requests to) share a link to the podcast. Annie finds this unfair, seeing as how Sam had been willing to help his other siblings' careers in quite major ways. Sam (and Jack) apparently cited that the podcast episode "did not align with their businesses" (c.f. nymag article) as the reason they refused to post the link.

 

Excerpts from "Sam Altman Is the Oppenheimer of Our Age", by Elizabeth Weil (lizweil (@lizweil) / X (twitter.com))

  1. "Annie does not exist in Sam’s public life. She was never going to be in the club. She was never going to be an Übermensch. She’s always been someone who felt the pain of the world. At age 5, she began waking up in the middle of the night, needing to take a bath to calm her anxiety. By 6, she thought about suicide, though she didn’t know the word."
  2.  "When I visited Annie on Maui this summer, she told me stories that will resonate with anyone who has been the emo-artsy person in a businessy family, or who has felt profoundly hurt by experiences family members seem not to understand. Annie — her long dark hair braided, her voice low, measured, and intense — told me about visiting Sam in San Francisco in 2018. He had some friends over. One of them asked Annie to sing a song she’d written. She found her ukulele. She began. “Midway through, Sam gets up wordlessly and walks upstairs to his room,” she told me over a smoothie in Paia, a hippie town on Maui’s North Shore. “I’m like, Do I keep playing? Is he okay? What just happened?” The next day, she told him she was upset and asked him why he left. “And he was kind of like, ‘My stomach hurt,’ or ‘I was too drunk,’ or ‘too stoned, I needed to take a moment.’ And I was like, ‘Really? That moment? You couldn’t wait another 90 seconds?’” That same year, Jerry Altman died. He’d had his heart issues, along with a lot of stress, partly, Annie told me, from driving to Kansas City to nurse along his real-estate business. The Altmans’ parents had separated. Jerry kept working because he needed the money. After his death, Annie cracked. Her body fell apart. Her mental health fell apart. She’d always been the family’s pain sponge. She absorbed more than she could take now. Sam offered to help her with money for a while, then he stopped. In their email and text exchanges, his love — and leverage — is clear. He wants to encourage Annie to get on her feet. He wants to encourage her to get back on Zoloft, which she’d quit under the care of a psychiatrist because she hated how it made her feel. Among her various art projects, Annie makes a podcast called All Humans Are Human. The first Thanksgiving after their father’s death, all the brothers agreed to record an episode with her. Annie wanted to talk on air about the psychological phenomenon of projection: what we put on other people. The brothers steered the conversation into the idea of feedback — specifically, how to give feedback at work. After she posted the show online, Annie hoped her siblings, particularly Sam, would share it. He’d contributed to their brothers’ careers. Jack’s company, Lattice, had been through YC. “I was like, ‘You could just tweet the link. That would help. You don’t want to share your sister’s podcast that you came on?’” He did not. “Jack and Sam said it didn’t align with their businesses.”
  3. "In May 2020, she relocated to the Big Island of Hawaii. One day, shortly after she’d moved to a farm to do a live-work trade, she got an email from Sam asking for her address. He wanted to send her a memorial diamond he’d made out of some of their father’s ashes. “Picturing him sending a diamond of my dad’s ashes to the mailbox where it’s one of those rural places where there are all these open boxes for all these farms … It was so heavy and sad and angering, but it was also so hilarious and so ridiculous. So disconnected-feeling. Just the lack of fucks given.” Their father never asked to be a diamond. Annie’s mental health was fragile. She worried about money for groceries. It was hard to interact with somebody for whom money meant everything but also so little. “Like, either you aren’t realizing or you are not caring about this whole situation here,” she said. By “whole situation,” she meant her life. “You’re willing to spend $5,000 — for each one — to make this thing that was your idea, not Dad’s, and you’re wanting to send that to me instead of sending me $300 so I can have food security. What?”"
  4. "The two are now estranged. Sam offered to buy Annie a house. She doesn’t want to be controlled. For the past three years, she has supported herself doing sex work, “both in person and virtual,” she told me. She posts porn on OnlyFans. She posts on Instagram Stories about mutual aid, trying to connect people who have money to share with those who need financial help."
  5. "Annie has moved more than 20 times in the past year. When she called me in mid-September, her housing was unstable yet again. She had $1,000 in her bank account. Since 2020, she has been having flashbacks. She knows everybody takes the bits of their life and arranges them into narratives to make sense of their world. As Annie tells her life story, Sam, their brothers, and her mother kept money her father left her from her. As Annie tells her life story, she felt special and loved when, as a child, Sam read her bedtime stories. Now those memories feel like abuse. The Altman family would like the world to know: “We love Annie and will continue our best efforts to support and protect her, as any family would.” Annie is working on a one-woman show called the HumAnnie about how nobody really knows how to be a human. We’re all winging it."

Note: Elizabeth Weil has stated the following on X in regards to her nymag article:

  1. lizweil on X: "@RemmeltE This is also a story about the tech media & its entanglement with industry. Annie was not hard to find. Nobody did the basic reporting on his family — or no one wanted to risk losing access by including Annie in a piece." / X (twitter.com)
    1. lizweil on X: "@RemmeltE @phuckfilosophy of course — worry about losing access to pals, allies, people he funds, people he might fund, others in tech who don't want to talk with journalists who might independently report out a story and not rely on comms...." / X (twitter.com)
    2. lizweil on X: "@RemmeltE @phuckfilosophy i'm not a tech reporter primarily and i've been in this industry for a long time (and it's a rough industry to be in), so less career risk for me" / X (twitter.com)
    3. lizweil on X: "@RemmeltE @phuckfilosophy Or accept the version of personal lives as delivered by the source. Sam talked about his personal life with me a bit, as did Jack. Just didn't ever reference Annie." / X (twitter.com) 

 

My Perspective

Opening Comments

  1. This post began when I stumbled upon a repost on X of a post from Annie Altman in which she claimed that her brother, Sam Altman, sexually assaulted/abused her as a child (she was 4, he was 13), and that she has endured various other forms of abuse from him throughout her life. As it turns out, Annie has made a lot of very serious claims about Sam Altman. 
  2. I believe there is a very high probability that Annie Altman is who she claims to be - the sister of Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI. I believe this because: 
    1. Sam Altman posted a link on Twitter in 2018 to Annie's YouTube channel ("Go check out my sister on Youtube!") 
    2. Annie did an episode for her podcast featuring her brothers Sam Altman, Jack Altman, and Max Altman in 2018. 
    3. There are old newspaper reports in various places around the Internet listing Annie as a sibling of Sam, Jack, and Max Altman in, for example, obituary-type webpages related to the death and funeral of their father, Jerry Altman. 
    4. Both Sam Altman and Annie Altman spoke personally to Elizabeth Weil of nymag for her "Sam Altman Is the Oppenheimer of Our Age" article she published in Sept. 2023. 


      Picture is taken from this article. In the picture on the left, you see Annie Altman (front left), Sam Altman (front right), and then Jack and Sam Altman in the back (not sure who is who.)
  3. I believe there is a high probability that Sam knows of the claims that Annie has made about him. I believe this because:
    1. Sam shared a link to Annie's Youtube channel in 2018. From this, I infer he is aware of her other social media profiles, where she has made her claims about Sam.
    2. Sam and Annie both personally interviewed Elizabeth Weil for her September 2023 nymag article. The article was published, and I infer that Sam, having consented to be interviewed for the article, knows that the article exists and has read it.
  4. Annie Altman has been posting consistently about being abused by Sam Altman (and Jack Altman, to a lesser extent) for about 4 years (~2019-present) across multiple social media platforms. Annie is largely self-consistent with the claims she makes over time.
  5. In my view, Annie's claims have been paid little attention, considering the power and notoriety of the person about whom she is making them - Sam Altman - and the seriousness of the claims she has been making. Besides Elizabeth Weil's nymag article (here), there has been virtually zero (mainstream) media coverage of the extremely serious claims that Annie has consistently made many, many times against Sam Altman over the past 4 years. 

So -- since it seems like no writer or journalist on the planet, besides me, for some reason, has ever properly answered this question, I'll take a swing at it: 

What exactly has Annie Altman claimed about Sam Altman?

My Personal Understanding/Interpretation of Annie's story and the chronology of her life

The following provides a chronology of Annie's life that I have constructed from her claims. This is my understanding of her claims. This is not me asserting that the following has been proven to be true, as it has not.

  1. In ~1998, when Annie is 4 years old, a 13-years-old Sam Altman non-consensually climbs into her bed (implied: sexually assaults Annie.) The specifics are unclear. All that Annie has stated is that Sam was something like her "first {sex work} client", that he used her to "help him figure out his sexuality", and that her brothers "touched her." (implied: in an inappropriate / nonconsensual way that would be classified as sexual abuse.)
    1. Annie, being 4 years old, does not form a concrete memory of this event that she fully understands / comprehends / accepts. That is, as she grows up and develops higher consciousness, sentience, intelligence, and self-awareness, she does not remember what Sam did to her, due to the fact that, when Sam sexually assaulted her (when she was 4 years old), her brain was extremely young, and the event was extremely traumatic for her younger self in a way that was hard for her to even conceptualize, much less understand and remember. Instead, Annie's "remembrances" of Sam's sexual assault of her manifest as extreme anxiety and suicidal thoughts around the age of 5-6, and emotional and mental problems (e.g. issues with relationship with her own body, needing to take antidepressants, depression, etc.)
  2. Around age 5-6, Annie starts dealing with extreme anxiety and suicidal ideation. As Annie puts it, she "{tells} her birth mother about wanting to end this life thing and being touched by older siblings, and said 'mother' decided to instead protect her sons and demand to receive therapy and chores only from her female child."
  3. As she grows up, though Annie does not have a complete memory of the sexual abuse she experienced in her early childhood, she practically embodies the dictionary definition of "symptoms common in those who have experienced sexual abuse in early childhood." Panic attacks, depression, body image problems, eating disorders, anxiety, suicidal thoughts - the list goes on.
  4. Annie starts using Zoloft at age 13 to help with symptoms of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), anxiety, and depression. She eventually tapers herself off of Zoloft at age 22.
    1. Zoloft becomes relevant again later on in Annie's chronology.
  5. Annie enters college. She ends up finishing college early (even though she was trying to graduate even earlier, I think?). However, upon graduating, she is extremely depressed, and ends up forsaking the medical school route. Instead, she seeks out a place to live that, as Elizabeth Weil writes, "felt better to her. She wanted to make art." In Annie's own words, she "majored in Biopsychology in college, with a minor in dance, and took all the prerequisite courses for medical school. Then I noped out of the pre-med route to focus on movement, writing, comedy, music, and food. I got certified as a yoga teacher, worked for an online CSA (community-supported agriculture) company, began writing more frequently, started slowly going to open mic nights and putting videos on YouTube, and began a podcast and this blog."
  6. At some point in 2018, Annie visits Sam in San Francisco and plays ukulele to an audience including Sam and his friends. While she is playing the ukulele, Sam abruptly, wordlessly gets up and walks upstairs to his room (as reported in the nymag article; see above.) 
    1. The next day, Sam says something along the lines of "his stomach hurt" or "he was too drunk/stoned" or "he needed to take a moment." Annie finds this explanation to be odd.
  7. In May 2018, Annie's Dad dies. 
  8. In Aug 2018, Annie starts a podcast, the All Humans Are Human podcast
    1. Annie experiences "6 months of hacking into all her accounts" after starting her podcast (in 2018).
  9. On Dec 7, 2018, Annie records and publishes an episode of her podcast featuring Sam Altman, Max Altman, and Jack Altman: 21. Podcastukkah #5: Feedback is feedback with Sam Altman, Max Altman, and Jack Altman.
    1. At this point in time, Annie still has not yet remembered / processed what Sam did to her at age 4. This is why she is ok with doing this podcast episode with Sam and her other brothers.
    2. Following the recording of Annie's podcast episode with her brothers Sam, Jack, and Max in 2018, Sam (and Jack) refuse to share a link to the podcast, citing the argument that it "didn't align with their businesses" (as reported in nymag; see above.)
  10. In 2019, Annie gets sick with PCOS, an IBS flare-up, a long-term problem with her Achilles (not sure on the specifics), and posterior tibial tendinopathy, as well as with a bout of tonsilitis.
  11. Also, in 2019, about a year after her Dad's death, Annie is notified about being (as stated in her Dad's will) the primary beneficiary of her Dad's 401K.
  12. In light of these situational factors, Annie makes a plan to quit her job for 6 months to focus on her health. She notifies her relatives (from what I understand, primarily: Sam Altman, Jack Altman, Max Altman, and her mother) of this plan. 
  13. Annie carries out her plan as intended. However, Sam, as well as Annie's mother and some of her other relatives, exploit a loophole that allows them to withhold the money that Annie's Dad left to her in his will. 
    At some point, Annie is connected with one of Sam Altman's lawyers. Annie is told that she will only receive money if she starts taking Zoloft again (c.f. this source and this source), which she had stopped taking at age 22 (c.f. this source and this source.) 
  14. As a result, Annie basically ends up sick and low on money. She sells some items, returns to an older job, and, for the first time, asks her millionaire brothers/relatives for money, who proceed to haggle her about it and give her a hard time. She does "two family therapy sessions", which terminate when she is professionally advised to stop doing such sessions.
  15. She moves back to Big Island (Hawai'i.) For some reason, Sam offers to send her a diamond of her Dad's ashes, even though 1) Annie is low on cash, and could use cash much more than an expensive Dad-ashes-diamond, and 2) Annie's Dad wanted just cremation, not diamond-ification. Annie finds this to be a very odd / insensitive gesture.
  16. At this point, Annie has begun speaking out against Sam on social media. She has also begun "survival sex work." That is, because she was sick and broke, her options for (more conventional forms of) employment were very limited, and thus she was forced to resort to sex work to financially support herself.
  17. In 2020, Sam offers to buy Annie a house...but there's strings attached. She has to meet with a Sam Altman lawyer. Annie sees this as an attempt by Sam to increase his control over her / suppress her (and her speaking out against him on social media.) She refuses his offer (which she frequently references as a "no contact" or "no family" decision.)
  18. In 2020, Annie begins having intense, nearly day-long flashbacks, which last for 18 months. That is - she begins to remember, and realize, that Sam Altman sexually assaulted her at age 4
    1. From what I understand, these flashbacks are a part of PTSD (relating to Sam's sexual assault of her 4-year-old self) that Annie begins to experience (she mentions PTSD specifically here and here.)
  19. Annie seems to think (here, here) that Sam was hoping that Annie would die or commit suicide before she could do too much damage to Sam' s reputation, carrying her knowledge to the grave.
  20. Annie continues to speak out against Sam on social media, including through various posts on Twitter/X (c.f. the Relevant excerpts from Annie's social media accounts section of this post.)
  21. In 2023, some of Annie's X posts receive newfound attention / rediscovery on X.
    1. One of the people who sees them first the first time is me. This leads to the writing of this post.

 

How to interpret these claims?

  • Annie has been making these claims for a long time, and has been self-consistent in the way she has been making them, from what I can tell.
  • However, Annie has not yet provided what I would consider direct / indisputable proof that her claims are true. Thus, rationally, I must consider Sam Altman innocent.
  • However, this is not to say that think Annie's claims are entirely false or implausible. Rather, I simply do not know whether Annie's claims are true or false. 
  • Given the degree to which Annie has pursued these claims, I think one of the following is likely:
    1. The severe mental / psychological problems which Annie is dealing with have unfortunately caused her to misunderstand, misrepresent, disconnect (to some degree from), or selectively-filter reality into an incomplete understanding. 
      1. Or, relatedly, perhaps some of the (less serious) things Annie has claimed (e.g. that she had problems with her phone service, had low engagement / potential shadowbanning on some of her social media accounts) did indeed occur, but she overextrapolated to a larger narrative behind these events that is innaccurate.
    2. Annie is indeed telling the truth, in whole or in part.
  • I don't know which is true. Both are certainly plausible explanations. 

 

Things I find Questionable/Unexplained

  • Annie has been speaking out about Sam for roughly 4 years now. In 2021, she made her claims quite clear on her X account. I am confused as to why there has been basically 0 coverage of her claims in the media? In general, why is Annie so absent in anything related to Sam Altman on the Internet, especially considering the nature of her relationship with Sam?
    • The sole exception here, of course, is Elizabeth Weil's nymag article, but even this article doesn't directly state the entirety of the claims that Annie has made. Instead, it kind of vaguely addresses them, using somewhat inspecific phrasing like "Now those memories feel like abuse", or "Since 2020, she has been having flashbacks" that don't quite capture the gravity of what Annie has been claiming.
  • If was Sam Altman was completely fine with posting a link to Annie's Youtube channel on Twitter on Feb 2, 2018, why did he (and Jack Altman) refuse to post a link to the podcast episode he filmed with Annie on Dec 7, 2018 on the basis that it "didn't align with {his} businesses", as Annie claimed to Elizabeth Weil?
    • Assuming that Sam did indeed say this - again, as I am trying to be unbiased, there is no current proof that he said this - I am a bit confused, as it seems a bit inconsistent to me that Sam identified Annie's Youtube channel as "aligning with his businesses", yet identified the podcast that he recorded with Annie as "not aligning with his businesses." The reason I state that this seems inconsistent is because I don't see what exactly what it was about Annie's podcast that made it "not align" with Sam's businesses given that Annie's Youtube channel "did align."
  • Why, as some commenters on Hacker News claim, has a post regarding Annie's claims that Sam sexually assaulted her at age 4 been repeatedly removed?
    1. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=37785072
    2. https://twitter.com/JOSourcing/status/1710390512455401888

 

Anticipating and Responding to Potential Objections

I initially hesitated to make this post, because I was initially skeptical of Annie's claims. However, I changed my mind -- I think there is a nonzero probability that Annie is telling the truth, in whole or in part, and thus believe her claims ought to receive greater attention and further investigation.

Assuming that my personal understanding of Annie's story, as presented above, is correct, Annie's behavior potentially makes sense.

So -- assuming my understanding is correct, I provide the following responses to (potential) objections regarding (the validity of) Annie's claims:

  • Objection 1 (to Annie's claims): "It seems like Annie is just doing this for money. She's linking to her OnlyFans and to her Venmo, CashApp, and PayPal on X."
    • My response: I do think this is a reasonable objection. However, I think this behavior could be plausible in light of the chronology of Annie's life: 
      • A 13-year-old Sam sexually assaults a 4-year-old Annie. 
      • As Annie grows older, she does not explicitly remember this event (until 2020), but experiences a multitude of severe psychological and mental traumas and illnesses stemming from this early sexual abuse (see above.)
      • When she begins to remember this event in 2020, it takes a severe toll on her (and she had already been dealing with many mental health issues since the age of 4 even without explicitly remembering Sam's sexual assault of her (as the source of her psychological maladies)), and weakens her ability to financially support herself.
  • Objection 2: "Annie hosted a podcast in 2018 with her brothers (Sam, Jack, and Max), but seems to have been unhappy that her brothers, particularly Sam, refused her request to share (the link to) her podcast (e.g. on Twitter.) This seems to potentially be part of a pattern of behavior wherein Annie tries to exploit the status of her brothers for her own gain."
    • My response: I do think that this objection holds merit. In her nymag article, Elizabeth Weil writes, "Among her various art projects, Annie makes a podcast called All Humans Are Human. The first Thanksgiving after their father’s death, all the brothers agreed to record an episode with her. Annie wanted to talk on air about the psychological phenomenon of projection: what we put on other people. The brothers steered the conversation into the idea of feedback — specifically, how to give feedback at work. After she posted the show online, Annie hoped her siblings, particularly Sam, would share it. He’d contributed to their brothers’ careers. Jack’s company, Lattice, had been through YC. “I was like, ‘You could just tweet the link. That would help. You don’t want to share your sister’s podcast that you came on?’” He did not. “Jack and Sam said it didn’t align with their businesses.”" I find this account to be plausible, yet do not think it entirely dispels the objection. 
  • Objection 3: "It seems Annie has been dealing with a variety of severe mental and psychological ailments throughout her life. She also seems to smoke/drink occasionally. It may well be that these claims are borne purely out these sorts of ailments of hers (or are of some other untrustworthy origin)."
    • My response: I think this is a valid concern to raise. As with much of the information presented here, I would be interested in hearing more from Annie.
  • Objection 4: "While Annie's claims are concerning, and her online activity and presence across a variety of media platforms does potentially support her claims, Annie has provided no direct evidence to corroborate her claims. We ought to hold Sam Altman innocent until proven guilty."
    • My response: I think this is a valid position. I actually agree with it. Hopefully, as a result of this post, we potentially receive a more detailed account or perspective on this matter from Annie, Sam, or others close to this matter (e.g. Jack Altman, Max Altman, etc.)

 

Concluding Remarks

To be clear, in this post, I am not definitively stating that I believe Annie's claims. Annie, to the best of my knowledge, has not provided direct proof - the sort that would be usable in court - of the claims she's made of Sam Altman.

I currently hold that I do not know if Annie's claims are true or not, though I will note that her online activity have been self-consistent over a long period of time, and seems to match up with activity from Sam in a few places (e.g. in the podcast episode she recorded with him.) I currently cannot disprove Sam Altman's innocence, as I do not think I can say that he has been proven guilty

Rather, as previously stated, I am hoping to draw attention to a body of information that I think warrants further investigation, as I think that there is a nonzero probability that Annie is telling the truth, in whole or in part, and that this must be taken extremely seriously in light of the gravity of the claims she is making and the position of the person about whom she is making them.

The information provided above makes me think it is likely that Sam Altman is aware of the claims that Annie Altman has made about him. To my knowledge, he has not directly, publicly responded to any of her claims. 

Given the gravity of Sam Altman's position at the helm of the company leading the development of an artificial superintelligence which it does not yet know how to align -- to imbue with morality and ethics -- I feel Annie's claims warrant a far greater level of investigation than they've received thus far. 

A quick update

I have made an X account @prometheus5105 where I responded to a recent post of Annie's (on X) asking her to confirm/deny the accuracy of my post:


Unfortunately, within minutes of creating my account, I received the following message: 

So, for now, my account is going to look suspicious, following only 1 account. Sorry.

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Does anyone know what the base rate is for estranged family members making accusations against celebrity relatives? That's a pretty important factor here e.g. it's possible that journalists at reputable outlets are willing to write misleading stories about AI safety university groups because they have true statistics that they can cite (or use clever linguistic tricks and other tools of the trade to straight-up lie about those statistics in plausibly deniable ways, which sadly also still happens even at the most reputable outlets), but can't write honest stories about accusations from estranged family members because of journalistic ethics.

Or maybe editors at news outlets and other varieties of corporate executives all have estranged family members so there's a norm against it, which sometimes holds and sometimes doesn't. All of it centers around what the base rate is, a single number, which I don't know. But it's impossible to investigate this topic in a truthseeking way and simultaneously not attempt to find the number that all the other calculations indisputably revolve around. The base rate of false rape accusations for normal people is incredibly low, likely because the victim... (read more)

[-]Viliam178

it's possible that journalists at reputable outlets are willing to write misleading stories about AI safety university groups because they have true statistics that they can cite

My guess would be that student groups accused of being "apocalyptic" are much less likely to sue you for libel than billionaires accused of child sex abuse. That seems more important than base rates.

Most journalists trying to investigate this story would attempt to interview Annie Altman. The base rate (converted to whatever heuristic the journalist used) would be influenced by whether she agreed to the interview and if she did how she came across. The reference class wouldn't just be "estranged family members making accusations against celebrity relatives".

She also makes claims that can be factually checked. When it comes to the money from her dad's there are going to be legal documents that describe what happened in that process. 

3pl5015
Good point. I don't currently know that rate, but agree that it would be helpful in analyzing this matter.

Can anyone comment on the likelihood of her forgetting the abuse she experienced as a 4 year old and then remembering it at ~26 years old? Given the other circumstances this seems quite likely to be a false memory, but I am not familiar with the research on this topic.

Bessel van der Kolk claimed the following in The Body Keeps the Score:

There have in fact been hundreds of scientific publications spanning well over a century documenting how the memory of trauma can be repressed, only to resurface years or decades later. Memory loss has been reported in people who have experienced natural disasters, accidents, war trauma, kidnapping, torture, concentration camps, and physical and sexual abuse. Total memory loss is most common in childhood sexual abuse, with incidence ranging from 19 percent to 38 percent. This issue is not particularly controversial: As early as 1980 the DSM-III recognized the existence of memory loss for traumatic events in the diagnostic criteria for dissociative amnesia: “an inability to recall important personal information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature, that is too extensive to be explained by normal forgetfulness.” Memory loss has been part of the criteria for PTSD since that diagnosis was first introduced.

One of the most interesting studies of repressed memory was conducted by Dr. Linda Meyer Williams, which began when she was a graduate student in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania in the early 1970s

... (read more)

Remembering and imagination share the same pathways and are difficult to distinguish at the neuro circuit level. The idea of recovered memories was already discredited decades ago after the peak of the satanic ritual abuse hysteria/panic of the 80's. At its peak some parents were jailed based on testimonies of children, children that had been coerced (both deliberately and indirectly) into recanting fantastical, increasingly outlandish tales of satanic baby eating rituals. The FBI even eventually investigated and found 0 evidence, but the turning point was when some lawyers and psychiatrists started winning lawsuits against the psychologists and social workers at the center of the recovered memory movement.

Memories change every time they are rehearsed/reimagined; the magnitude of such change varies and can be significant, and the thin separation between imaginings (imagined memories, memories/stories of others, etc) and 'factual' memories doesn't really erode so much as not really exist in the first place.

Nonetheless, some people's detailed memories from childhood are probably largely accurate, but some detailed childhood memories are complete confabulations based on internalization of external evidence, and some are later confabulations based on attempts to remember or recall and extensive dwelling on the past, and some are complete fiction. No way with current tech to distinguish between, even for the rememberer.

I know someone who recovered memories of repeated abuse including from the age of four later in their teenage years. The parents could corroborate a lot of circumstances around those memories, which suggests that they're likely broadly accurate. For instance, things like "they told their mother about the abuse when they were four, and the mother remembered that this conversation happened." Or "the parents spoke to the abuser and he basically admitted it." There was also suicidal ideation at around age six (similarity to Annie's story). In addition, the person remembers things like, when playing with children's toy figures (human-like animals), they would not play with these toy figures like ordinary children and instead think about plots that involve bleeding between legs and sexual assault. (This is much more detailed than Annie’s story, but remembering panic attacks as the first memory and having them as a child at least seems like evidence that she was strongly affected by something that had happened.)

Note that the person in question recovered these memories alone years before having any therapy.

It's probably easier to remember abuse (or for this to manifest itself in child beha... (read more)

The chances she remembers it accurately? very small.

But the chances a four year old who was abused accurately remembers the abuse? also very small, because they're so young and because trauma messes with memory formation. 

So barring psychosis it seems pretty likely to me that something happened, but that she isn't an accurate witness to specifics. 

0solomon alon
From my understanding it’s incredibly unlikely. There are roughly two possibilities. 1. This a false memory implanted by her therapist. 2. She always had the memory but only realized what it was later or only decided to act on it later. Note often time children don’t process sexual assault as an incredibly traumatic until years later. either because a therapist brings a memory to the forefront or something happens to bring the memory to the forefront or even just learning about what sex is can cuase the memoru to be traumatic.
5Lukas_Gloor
The opposite is common, though. I know someone who had this happened and they remembered that sexual assault felt distinctly very bad even before knowing what sex was. (And see my other comment on resurfacing memories.) 
4Gareth Davidson
To share an alternate anecdote, a friend of mine was accused by a family member of abuse as a child, which turned out to be a false memory created during a severe and prolonged period of mental illness. Ten years after she apologised and says she doesn't believe it happened, he still finds it difficult to forgive her and has mental health issues caused by the stigma (not that there was any really, she made a lot of other extremely unlikely clams) Not this this influences my position from the default stance of "dunno", but I thought I'd share for balance.
[-]Roko4818

The simplest hypothesis that explains all this evidence is that Annie Altman is suffering from psychosis, and this would be obvious if we weren't all caught up in the metoo world order.

E.g. the belief that all her devices, and her wifi were hacked, and that she has been shadowbanned from all internet platforms seems like the kind of thing that someone suffering from psychosis would believe. It's not a rational belief. It's called a persecutory delusion.

The idea that her mental health problems were caused by a sexual assault early in her life is topsy turvy; actually, she's mentally ill which has caused her to have difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction and make the accusation, and irresponsible D-tier amateur journos are taking advantage of the situation.

This post is basically a perfect exemplar of how a psychotic person behaves. E.g.

Annie has moved more than 20 times in the past year.

The base rate for psychosis is about 1-3% and she's at the most common age for it too.

This 1-3% is much higher than the probability that the abuse happened, and the total internet shadowbanning happened, that multiple family members are conspiring against her, and the part where she was illeg... (read more)

You're assuming the two alternatives are that everything she's said is true and accurate, or else nothing is. It does not require psychosis to make wrong interpretations or to have mild paranoia. It merely requires not being a dedicated rationalist, and/or having a hard life. I'm pretty sure that being abused would help cause paranoia, helping her to get some stuff wrong.

Unfortunately, it's going to be impossible to disentangle this without more specific evidence. Psychology is complicated. Both real recovered memories and fabricated memories seem to be common.

You didn't bother estimating the base rate of sexual abuse by siblings. While that's very hard to figure out, it's very likely in the same neighborhood as your 1-3% psychosis. And it's even harder to study or estimate. So this isn't going to help much in resolving the issue.

-3Roko
I disagree, that seems extraordinarily high to me.
2ROM
I'm disappointed you didn't engage with Seth's claim that you're assuming all the claims made are either collectively true or collectively false. Is it true that someone with psychosis (assuming your judgement is correct) making an allegation of sexual abuse is more likely to be lying/mistaken than not?  I.e someone with psychosis making a claim like the above is less likely than someone without psychosis to be accurately interpreting reality, but is their claim more likely to be false than not? Your argument leans heavily on her having psychosis. Do people with psychosis make more false allegations of sexual assault that true allegations?  Breiding et al., 2014 estimates that around 19.3% of women in the US have been sexually assaulted. Assuming the rate is similar for people with psychosis, more than 1 in 5 women with psychosis would need to make false allegations for the base assumption to be "person has psychosis therefore their sexual assault claim is more likely false than true". On reflection this part wasn't a good point.
-6wolflow
[-]titotal2719

Bayes can judge you now: your analysis is half-arsed, which is not a good look when discussing a matter as serious as this.  

All you’ve done is provide one misleading statistic. The base rate of experiencing psychosis may be 1-3%, but the base rate of psychotic disorders is much lower, at 0.25% or so. 

But the most important factor is one that is very hard to estimate, which is what percentage of people with psychosis manifest that psychosis as false memories of being groped by a sibling. If the psychosis had involved seeing space aliens, we would be having a different discussion. 

We would then have to compare this with the rate of teenagers groping their toddler siblings.  This is also very difficult.  A few studies claim that somewhere around 20% of women are sexually abused as children, but I don’t have a breakdown of that by source of abuse and age, etc. Obviously the figure for our particular subset of assault cases will be significantly lower, but I don’t know by how much. 

I thinks it’s highly likely that the number of women groped as a toddler by a sibling is much higher than the number of women who falsely claim to be groped as a toddler by a si... (read more)

-9Roko

The wifi hacking also immediately struck me as reminiscent of paranoid psychosis. Though a significant amount of psychosis-like things are apparently downstream of childhood trauma, including sexual abuse, but I forget the numbers on this.

[-]Roko3116

She could also have some real trauma. Note that it doesn't have to be the thing that is claimed. Once we are in the realm of a mentally ill person's delusions (and I have seen this up close), the sky really is the limit.

1green_leaf
How hard is it to hack somebody's wifi? Also, a traumatized person attributing a seemingly hacked wifi to their serious abuser doesn't need to mean any mental illness.
7Roko
We are being Bayesian. It's a hypothesis that explains the visible evidence very well. It also has a relatively high prior probability (a few percent).
0green_leaf
Can you show what priors you used, how you calculated the posteriors, what numbers you got and where the input numbers came from? I highly doubt that hypothesis has a higher posterior probability.
1xiann
Assuming Sam was an abuser, what would hacking wifi signals do that the level of shadowbanning described not do? It strikes me as unlikely because it doesn't seem to have much reward in the world where Sam is the abuser.

It's true that a hundred years ago, women making such allegations were dismissid as being psychotic. This doesn't mean that these dissmissed women were indeed psychotic and/or wrong in their allegitions. Pre-me-too perception of the world is at least not necessarily more accurate.

If anything, happening of Me-Too movement is an evidence in favor of base rates of sexual assault being highter. You can't use it existence to lower the probability estimate of this particular allegation being true, without contradicting conservation of expected evidence.

Similarly, with mental health issues. They can be downstream of sexual abuse or they can lead to falsly believing that you were abused. Priviledging one hypothesis over the other requires some kind of evidence. What are the rates of abused person developping mental health issues, similar to what can be observed of Annie Altman? What are the rates of people with similar to Annie Altman issues having delusions about sexual assault?

The base rate for psychosis is about 1-3% and she's at the most common age for it too.

This 1-3% is much higher than the probability that the abuse happened, and the total internet shadowbanning happened, that multi

... (read more)
[-]pl5015118

I think you make multiple valid points which are similar to the points I've made in my post, but I do think our stances differ in a few ways.

I think that you are certainly correct that psychosis, or a similar type of mental illness / disorder, is a plausible explanatory hypothesis for Annie making the claims that she has. 

However, though I do recognize that the simplicity of a hypothesis is a boon to its plausibility, I do not share your belief that we have been unknowingly subsumed by the "MeToo world order", which has damaged our rationalism and obstructed our ability to recognize this as being obviously the simplest hypothesis. (Though perhaps this is a overly dramatic / inaccurate representation of your assertion.)

While I do agree that this post may encapsulate behavior representative of a person suffering from psychosis, or a similar mental illness, I see the hypothesis space as primarily dual, where mental illness / misrepresentation-of-reality-type hypotheses form one primary subspace, but there exists another primary subspace wherein the behavior detailed in this post is indeed representative of a person who has gone through the things which Annie has claimed she has.

I do appreciate your inclusion of quantitative rates; I think your analysis benefits from it.

-2Roko
Why not? A priori when a person makes a bunch of unlikely accusations in public, it would have been reasonable to first consider this as evidence of them not being truthful and sane. Since people are often not sane and/or liars, this is an important epistemic subroutine to have otherwise you are vulnerable to manipulation. I don't really want to make this into a huge battle; you almost certainly don't have anything to change my mind (because I'm right) and I almost certainly won't change your mind (because your position is good for signaling/popular). I've mostly given up on these kind of battles because the supply of mindkilled virtue signaling is essentially limitless - but if you are going to disagree and take the epistemic high ground on LW I think you should have to justify yourself or retract the point.
5272314
I agree, although I'm not sure it's entirely due to the "metoo world order."  It's probably partly that, but it's also partly that it's considered impolite to point out when someone is mentally ill. In part this is because unfortunately doing so can strengthen a paranoid person's feeling of persecution. When a friend of mine suffered a psychotic break, she had many technology related delusions, and she reached out to me for advice because I work in technology. I wasn't sure how to handle it so I consulted a professional. Under their advice, I gave her general advice on how to protect herself from breaches (strong passwords, HTTPS everywhere extension, etc.) and didn't otherwise try to disillusion her. My role as a friend was to stay her friend, not try to break her delusions. Paranoid people already have enough enemies, imaginary though they may be.  Of course, once delusions have been put into print, it's now a public forum. (One might question the ethics of publishing such an article). But politeness norms often extend into public forums.   
-21Roko
1adrusi
This hypothesis seems like it should be at or near the top of the list. It explains a lot of Sam's alleged behavior. If she's exhibiting signs of psychosis then he might be trying to get her to get care, which would explain the strings-attached access to resources. Possibly she is either altering the story or misunderstanding about her inheritance being conditional on Zoloft, it might have been an antipsychotic instead. On the other hand, while psychosis can manifest in subtle ways, I'm skeptical that someone whose psychosis is severe enough that they'd be unable to maintain stable employment or housing would be able to host a podcast where their psychosis isn't clearly visible. (I haven't listened to it yet, but I would expect it to be obvious enough that others would have pointed it out) A variation on this hypothesis that I find more likely is that Annie is psychologically unwell in exactly the ways she says she is, and out of some mixture of concern for her wellbeing and fear that her instability could hurt his own reputation or business interests, Sam has used some amount of coercion to get her to seek psychiatric care. She then justifiably got upset about her rich and powerful family members using their financial power to coerce her into taking drugs she knows she doesn't want to take. You don't have to be psychotic to develop some paranoia in a situation like that.

I'm confused about and skeptical of the justifiability of all the downvotes this post received.

  1. If the allegations are true, well, I'm not sure how important exactly it is, but it seems at least like it passes the bar of "worth knowing about" pretty easily.
  2. If something passes that bar pretty easily, I guess the next question is how plausible it is. If it's incredibly implausible, then downvoting seems reasonable. I only skimmed through the post and some of the comments, but it doesn't seem like the allegations are obviously implausible.
  3. Once something passes through filters (1) and (2), some other reasons I could think of for why it might be worth downvoting are if the post does a poor job of arguing, is very difficult to understand, or is very hostile and contentious. None of these things seem to be the case here though.

Strongly agree! 

I have mixed feelings about the convincingness of the accusations. Some aspects seem quite convincing to me, others very much not.

In most contexts, I'm still going to advocate for treating Sam Altman as though it's 100% that he's innocent, because that's what I think is the right policy in light of uncorroborated accusations. However, in the context of "should I look into this more or at least keep an eye on the possibility of dark triad psychology?," I definitely think this passes the bar of "yes, this is relevant to know."

I thought it was very strange to interpret this post as "gossip," as one commenter did.

Yikes, I'm finding this quite emotionally difficult to read, and I didn't expect any of this.

Amongst many disturbing things, Annie reports:

Shadowbanning across all platforms except onlyfans and pornhub. Also had 6 months of hacking into almost all my accounts and wifi when I first started the podcast"

I don't currently see how this could work out. Shadowbanning on Twitter and Reddit and Facebook (and more) is something the mods on each of those platforms controls, I am unclear how a young Sam Altman could've accomplished this.

Hypotheses:

  1. Sam and his allies engaged in a systematic campaign to report a lot of her content to mods on each of these platforms and somehow knew how to specifically cause shadowbanning on all of these platforms.
  2. This was done when Sam was a significant figure in YC / Silicon Valley and he reached out directly to senior people in those companies to make a shadowbanning request.
  3. She was shadowbanned on these platforms for sex work / other unusual content and inaccurately attributes it to Sam.
  4. She is mistaken about what happened, or something close by happened once (e.g. he reported her to a subreddit mod who took mod action against her) and she is exaggerating this.
  5. The claim is fabricated for other reasons (not very in touch with reality, attention, etc).

I'd certainly be interested to know what evidence led her to believe she had been widely shadowbanned.

5pl5015
Update: While I don't consider this evidence of a widespread shadowbanning effort, some commenters on Hacker News claim that a post regarding Annie's claims that Sam sexually assaulted her at age 4 has been being repeatedly removed.  1. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=37785072 2. https://twitter.com/JOSourcing/status/1710390512455401888 I have updated this post to include this information as well (c.f. item 3.a. in "What Annie has stated on her X account.")
[-]jefftk171

some commenters on Hacker News claim that a post regarding Annie's claims that Sam sexually assaulted her at age 4 has been being repeatedly removed.

It's possible that Sam or HN/YC have been abusing their mod powers, but this is also consistent with manual flagging by legitimate users. There's an active contingent of HN users who think this kind of post is a "gossipy distraction", and so it's very common for posts like this to be hidden via flagging even when they're not about someone involved with HN/YC.

(While HN does have a shadowbanning system, where your posts are not shown by default and only users who've manually set showdead=true can see them, it looks like that term is being misapplied here.)

5pl5015
I also find Annie's claims emotionally difficult to read. Annie's claims are very serious. Though, as I have acknowledged, their validity has yet to be convincingly established.  I also would be interested to know what evidence led her to believe she had been widely shadowbanned. In general, I would be interested to hear more from Annie, Sam, or those close to this.
[-]ladyv2913

Scratching my head over whether logic/rational arguments/opining on probabilities by random internet people is the best path toward finding out what's capital-T true here. This doesn't seem to be a case where you can pull up the evidence, look at base rates, and calculate whether Annie is telling the truth or not based on probabilities. 

It sounds like Annie has struggled with mental health issues from quite an early age -- as young as 5 or 6, which also manifested later as physical health issues, and what's disturbing to me is the repeated lack of support from her family members throughout.

It saddens me that she has tried to speak to her mother and brothers about what happened and has been repeatedly ignored or invalidated.  And that despite her being the primary beneficiary of her father's 401K, her family chose to withhold the money she would have used to take time off work to restore her health. When she requested that Sam help promote her podcast he denied her request because it didn't make sense for his business. Sam and their mom denied her request for financial support so she wouldn't have to turn to sex work to make ends meet.

It actually sounds like her family has... (read more)

1pl5015
Sorry for the delayed response - yes, I think this kind of gets at the heart of the matter. I think, though I did a pretty good job with being rational in this post, and trying to make rational, unbiased claims from/using the information that exists, I could have been a bit more refined and clear-cut. I honestly feel a bit bad, because this is an important issue, and I hope I didn't screw things up by (unintentionally) presenting things in a irrational or biased way. I'll try to be very rational and unbiased in this comment. I think my statement that I was "trying to figure out the truth" in an earlier comment was misguided and imprecise. You were keen to notice this. In a situation like this, there are large amounts of uncertainty, and there is currently no proof of misconduct (that I've seen.) I think what this post does is {provide a (relatively) accurate description of the state of affairs regarding Annie's claims.} I do feel pretty good about the way in which I presented the information relevant to this matter in this post. Though I don't want to necessarily "take shots" at Elizabeth Weil, whose nymag article provided basically the only significant written third-party acknowledgment of Annie's claims, I will say that I prefer the (hopefully, more) objective, straight-from-the-source, uncertainty-acknowledging approach I've taken here. The key thing here is that, currently, the primary information we have is: 1. Claims that Annie has made on social media, as well as a few pictures of her from when she was sick that she took, and a few screenshots of her social media that potentially indicate, but do not provably or definitively, indicate that she experienced shadowbanning, let alone that the low engagement/shadowbanning occured because of Sam. It is important to avoid the conjunction fallacy: Let A = the event that Annie Altman, or (digital) media relating to her did indeed experience shadowbanning, low engagement, etc. Let B = the event that

Also a practical question about how to interpret this is how reliable flashbacks that occur many years later the event without memory of the event in the time inbetween are. My guess would be that the answer is "we don't really know".

Like as far as I understand, dissociation is A Thing, but the people who talk about it still don't have a solid understanding of how it can or cannot work, and are often mistaken about the science of it and of trauma? (In particular overestimating the validity of some of the science.)

And conversely, some recovered memories are fake, but the people who talk about this tend to deny the possibility of dissociation and don't really have any scalable way of determining the validity or invalidity of such memories, so they just round it off to always being fake without having solid support for that?

3pl5015
I share your concern, not only about the reliability of Annie's flashbacks, but also about the validity of the claims she's made as a whole. As I note in my response to "Objection 4", Annie has provided no direct evidence to corroborate her claims, to the best of my knowledge.  I also acknowledge that the links I provided (e.g. from saprea.org) do not meet rigorous standards that would enable me to label them as "scientific" or "empiric" evidence to corroborate Annie's account. I provide them merely as a way of noting that the symptoms that Annie's reported seem plausible. As I mentioned, the intent of this post is to promote discussion about the claims that Annie has made, and to spread awareness of the fact that Sam has not yet responded to Annie's (very serious claims.) This post does not claim that Annie's claims are provably or indisputably valid. In fact, I think the opposite is true: her claims are not yet corroborated by direct evidence, and they certainly are disputable. I currently hold Sam Altman to be innocent, until proven guilty.  In spite of this, I still thought that this post was worth making, as a means of bringing attention to Annie's claims, which I think have a nonzero probability of being true in whole or in part.
4tailcalled
This seems like a thing that, even if true, would not lead to any direct evidence? Like presumably the only evidence of the sexual abuse that persists this long is gonna be her memories, Sam Altman's memories, and maybe other family members memories. (Or I suppose maybe they could run a PPG test on Sam Altman to better measure his sexuality? But AFAIK such tests are somewhat noisy and basically never performed.)
5pl5015
Yes, I think you raise valid points. Given that Annie's (purported) sexual abuse occurred so long ago, I agree that it is unlikely that, at this point, direct evidence of Sam's (purported) sexual abuse of her would be able to gathered.  Deviating a bit from your reply to the more general question of "What direct evidence could be provided (e.g. by Annie) to corroborate the claims Annie is making?" -- I do think that a potentially useful piece of evidence that could be provided to corroborate (some of) Annie's claims would be proof that: 1. Annie's father left her money in his will. 2. Annie did not receive this money, as specified in the will.
3Viliam
I suspect that only the people involved will ever know the truth about the sexual abuse accusation. The claim about money, although in my opinion less serious, seems much easier to investigate. (And then, we can make a probabilistic update about the other claim.) Other accusations in the article, such as Sam not willing to link a podcast, don't seem important to me.
0tailcalled
Those claims would be nice to know the answer to, though I don't know that proving those claims would prove the sexual abuse allegations, nor that disproving those claims would disprove the sexual abuse allegations. Obviously one could argue that these claims are evidence about the relative trustworthiness of Annie vs Sam, but I am not sure trustworthiness across different claims is sufficiently well-correlated in these sorts of situations that it's a valid inference to make.

I'm trying to square Sam Altman sexually abusing her with Sam Altman being gay. The best theory I can come up with to square them is that maybe he is bisexual and pretends to be gay to hide the sexual abuse. Alternatively maybe being sufficiently high in the disgust/taboo factor of sexual interests cancels out being gay when the context involves sexually assaulting a minor family member. I suppose the latter story would have less complexity penalty since it also explains the incest attraction and assault and not just the gynephilia.

My understanding is that perpetrator sexuality has little to do with the gender of chosen victims in child sexual abuse. If Annie was four years old and Sam thirteen at the time, I don't think attraction to women played much of a role either way.

1tailcalled
Ehh, idk. Obviously pedophiles are much more likely to sexually assault children than teliophiles are, and from what I've heard pedophiles are more likely to have no particular preference (or only weak preferences) for whether their victims are male or female. But pedophilic child molesters tend to have strong preferences for children, which is in tension with Sam Altman being attracted to adult men. Alternatively I've heard that some teliophiles molest children out of opportunism, but that seems somewhat counterintuitive to me (in order to see children as a sexual opportunity, wouldn't they need to be attracted to them?). It's less counterintuitive if we're talking about teens (sexual attractiveness to teliophiles tends to gradually increase due to age, rather than suddenly spiking up at the age of consent), but that doesn't square with Annie being four years old. I'm pretty sure this type of child molester tends to have a correspondence between their preference for adults's sex and their preference for children's sex, but I also think their preference for children's sex is weaker than their preference for adult's sex. These explanations are all making reference to the perpetrator's sexuality, though of course in much more complex and nuanced ways than gay/straight/bi.

[epistemic status: i know nothing]

Isn't it not so uncommon for people's sexualities to change over time? I'd think puberty especially would be a time when things would shift.

5pl5015
Annie gives her opinion here: Annie Altman on X: "I’m not four years old with a 13 year old “brother” climbing into my bed non-consensually anymore. (You’re welcome for helping you figure out your sexuality.) I’ve finally accepted that you’ve always been and always will be more scared of me than I’ve been of you." / X (twitter.com) I do acknowledge that this may not provide an entirely satisfactory explanation of why a 13-year-old Sam (purportedly) chose to sexually abuse a 4-year-old Annie Altman. Nevertheless, I do not think that {a 13-year-old Sam Altman sexually abusing a 4-year-old Annie Altman} is mutually exclusive with {Sam Altman coming out as gay as a teenager, and being openly gay since then.}
-1tailcalled
I saw this interpretation but it seems psychologically unrealistic to me. Why would a person who is questioning their sexuality would sexually assault a minor family member? People generally aren't attracted to their family members or to children, so it wouldn't be very diagnostic, and it is a strong norm violation that seems unnecessary for exploring one's sexuality.
4pl5015
I think the points you make are somewhat valid. I don't entirely agree with the reasoning from which they originate.  While I agree that: -- Yes, it is not necessary for a person exploring their sexuality to do so by sexually assaulting a younger family member -- Yes, providing "13-year-old Sam Altman was exploring his sexuality" as the explanatory motive of 13-year-old Sam's sexual assault of 4-year-old Annie is not entirely satisfactory},  I do not agree that: -- 13-year-old Sam Altman choosing to explore his sexuality by sexuality assaulting his 4-year-old sister is a psychologically infeasible (I do acknowledge that this is not exactly the claim you are making.) I also think that Annie may not have been fully literal in her provision of "13-year-old Sam Altman was exploring his sexuality" as the explanatory motive for him sexually assaulting her.
-3tailcalled
Maybe it would be more appropriate for me to say "less psychologically realistic than all the other alternatives that are on the table so far".
3House Beaver
Many gay men frequently date girls during their adolescence. A survey shows that gay male teenagers are several times more likely to conceive girls than straight male teenagers. Many male homosexuals frequently "explore" or "challenge themselves" during the early stages of sexual awakening, and then fully embrace themselves at a later stage. Annie may be a sacrificed experimental object (if the allegations are true). Some of Anne's tweets do not seem to appear in this article. I have seen Anne (Twitter) claim that her brother once touched her pussy and anus. The so-called sexual harassment (if the allegations are true) may not necessarily be driven by sexual desire. The gay boy who touched his sister's genitals may only be confirming (in reality rather than in pornographic magazines) whether he would be sexually aroused by a woman. We don't know if he had sexual contact with girls of his age during adolescence. We don't know why he chose a four year old girl (if the accusation is true), perhaps we adults cannot understand the emotional world of an adolescent.
1npostavs
Does "conceive" mean "have sex with" here? Because according to what I think of as the standard definition of that word, you would be saying that gay male teenagers are more likely to produce female offspring (which sounds pretty silly). Did the survey use that word?
5tailcalled
House Beaver is talking about surveys which find a correlation between saying one is gay and saying one has impregnated someone/become pregnant. So like House Beaver's idea is if those who say they are gay teen boys in surveys also have a greater tendency to say they've impregnated someone, then House Beaver thinks this is probably because gay teen boys are more likely to impregnated teen girls than straight teen boys are. Whereas I'd be inclined to say it's because some teens find it funny to say they are 7 foot tall blind gang members who are addicted to heroin.
1tailcalled
I'm aware of phenomena like beards and repression. But these seem driven by social norms, whereas molesting your sister seems counteracted by social norms. Out of the two possibilities of "the survey is wrong" and "gay male teenagers are several times more likely to conceive girls than straight male teenagers", which do you honestly think is more likely?
[-]Siebe1211

Just coming to this now, after Altman's firing (which seems unrelated?)

At age 5, she began waking up in the middle of the night, needing to take a bath to calm her anxiety. By 6, she thought about suicide, though she didn’t know the word."

To me, this adds a lot of validity to the whole story and I haven't seen these points made:

  1. Becoming suicidal at such an early age isn't normal, and very likely has a strong environmental cause (like being abused, or losing a loved one)

  2. The bathing to relieve anxiety is typical sexual trauma behavior (e.g. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3577979/)

Of course, we don't know for sure that she told the truth that this started at that age, but we can definitely not dismiss it.

On the recovered memories: I listen to a lot of podcasts where people talk about their own trauma and healing (with respected therapists). It's very common in those that people start realizing in adulthood that something was wrong in their childhood, and increasingly figure out why they've always felt so 'off'.

On the shadowbanning & hacking: This part feels more tenuous to me, especially the shadowbanning. But I don't think this disqualifies the rest of the story. She's had a really hard life and surely would have trust issues, and her brother is a powerful man.

[-]Raemon120

Quick mod note: Some new users have showed up commenting on this post. I've been erring on the side of approving them even when they wouldn't meet our usual quality guidelines because this seems like a topic where silencing information could be worse than usual.

[-]shminux12-12

When has this become a "gossip about the outgroup" site?

3DPiepgrass
Neither Sam nor Annie count as "the outgroup". I'm sure some LWers disagree with Sam about how to manage the development of AGI, but if Sam visited LW I expect it would be a respectful two-way discussion, not a flame war like you'd expect with an "outgroup". (caveat: I don't know how attitudes about Sam will change as a result of the recent drama at OpenAI.)
-31frontier64

When it comes to remembering a childhood event that supposedly happened in 1998 in 2020, even if a process produced the memory that doesn't mean that it really happened. There are plenty of cases of "Satanistic ritual abuse" where there are memories but where we generally think those memories are not matching to real events.

Annie wanted to talk on air about the psychological phenomenon of projection: what we put on other people. The brothers steered the conversation into the idea of feedback — specifically, how to give feedback at work. After she posted the show online, Annie hoped her siblings, particularly Sam, would share it. He’d contributed to their brothers’ careers. Jack’s company, Lattice, had been through YC. “I was like, ‘You could just tweet the link. That would help. You don’t want to share your sister’s podcast that you came on?’” He did not. “Jack and Sam said it didn’t align with their businesses.”" I find this account to be plausible, yet do not think it entirely dispels the objection. 

The fact that Sam and the other brothers showed up for the podcast suggests that they wanted to support her at that moment in time. 

It seems that something happened that mad... (read more)

If hypothetically we knew that the allegations were true, what actions would make sense for the AI Safety community to take? And how helpful would they be in reducing the chance of existential risks?

Re: plausibility of shadowban claims: You can pay clickfarms to mark someone as spam.

I'd like to add some nuance to the "innocent until proven guilty" assumption in the concluding remarks.

Standard of evidence is a major question in legal matters and heavily context-dependent.  "Innocent until proven guilty" is a popular understanding of the standard for criminal guilt and it makes sense for that to be "beyond a reasonable doubt" because the question at hand is whether a state founded on principles of liberty should take away the freedom of one of its citizens.  Other legal disputes, such as in civil liability, have different stan... (read more)

Out of curiosity, is the motivation of this post to try to collate/figure out the truth/rationality of what actually happened? Or rather just a convenient place that is less susceptible to (alleged) censorship compared to other sites?

5pl5015
My motivation is pure. I am trying to (rationally) figure out the truth. Though, I'd be epistemologically naive if I expected you to believe me just because I told you "I'm a good person, trust me!". Also -- I could care less about what people opine (without backing logical/rational arguments.) I could have chosen to do a big long rant with a bunch of clickbait-y quips and half-truthisms on X to try to jack up engagement and suck ad revenue out of X like a leach, but luckily I'm not an asshole (in my humble opinion, lol), so I came here instead. (Not to imply that you said that; I just say this more in an attempt to convey my motives and character.) I came to this site in particular because: 1. I thought its users would probably understand the significance of a claim that Sam Altman has been quietly hiding the fact that he sexually assaulted his 4-year-old sister. 2. I thought that its users would be good at calling me out on any logical/irrational bullshit that I (unintentionally) propagated. I want to be right, not to feel right. Say what you will about LessWrong, but its users do love to be quite exacting in their arguments about whether or not they think a person is making rational arguments. Indeed, I've modified this post, and my replies, many times in response to comments I've received in a way that I think has been to the benefit of the clarity of this post and its conveyance of my position. I'm glad that my karma score has jumped all over the place as I've updated my post - it means that LessWrong users are actually thinking critically about the degree to which I am being rational.  It seems to me, at this point, one of two things is true: 1. Annie Altman is lying left, right,. and center, or is deluded, disconnected from reality, or just misinformed/misunderstanding things to the point that she believes she is telling the truth when she is not. 2. She is not lying (at least, to some degree.) Yes, I know we can wonder about base rates and what ment

I have been pleasantly surprised by the job you've done with this post, but I really don't like your frame here.

We can debate whether Sam Altman's alleged offenses are relevant to this forum, but I don't think there's any case to be made that his sister's mental health or honesty is relevant to anyone here. In which case the question isn't "is Annie lying?", it's "what did Sam Altman do? is it a pattern" and perhaps "is there any additional context we should know?"[1]

 

 

  1. ^

    In particular, children who commit sexual assault are often playing out their past abuse by adults. I believe this is less true the older the child is, and can't immediately find numbers for 13 year olds. 

[-]pl50151611

The points you make are valid. You also make a good point about the importance of additional context. 

I think I may have miscommunicated myself to some extent, based on the fact that I largely agree with your reply here.

The most clear, and most general framing of my motives is this:

  1. My overarching, most fundamental desire is for humanity to have a positive AI future.
  2. Because of this, I want to do my best to determine the validity of a claim(s) such as Annie's that asserts that the CEO of the world's (leading) artificial intelligence company / research org / lab / whatever you want to call it may actually be a person of highly questionable morals. The whole reason we got OpenAI in the first place is, apparently, because Elon freaked out when Larry Page called him a 'specist' back in 2013. (I will not bother commenting on whether or not I think this was ultimately a good thing. ) I very much want the person leading the development of and (attempts at) alignment of superintelligence to be a good person
  3. The reason I have made this post here is because of (2), not because I thought that this forum was the right place to worry about the mental health of Annie Altman. While obvio
... (read more)
0Viliam
I am curious how specifically you intend to figure out the truth of "something happened in private when I was 4 years old" claim. What kind of research could bring more light to this topic?

One benefit of boosting the visibility of accusations like this is that it makes it easier for others to come forward as well, should there be a pattern with other abuse victims. Or even just other people possibly having had highly concerning experiences of a non-sexual but still interpersonally exploitative nature.

If this doesn't happen, it's probabilistic evidence against the worst tail scenarios of character traits, which would be helpful if we could significantly discount that.

It's frustrating that we may never know, but one way to think about this is "we'd at least want to find out the truth in the worlds where it's easy to find out." 

-7unparadoxed

I've been thinking about these allegations often in the context of Altman's firing circus a few months ago. I've known multiple people who suffered early childhood abuse/sexual trauma - and even dated one for a few tumultuous years a decade ago. I had a perfectly normal, happy childhood myself, and eventually came to learn that this disconnect between who they were most times vs times of high-stress was tremendously unintuitive (and initially intriguing) for me. It also seemed to facilitate an certain meticulousness in duplicity/compartmentalization of pre... (read more)

"I would like to note that this is my first post on LessWrong." I find this troubling given the nature of this post. It would have been better if this post was made by someone with a long history of posting to LessWrong, or someone writing under a real name that could be traced to a real identity. As someone very concerned with AI existential risk, I greatly worry that the movement might be discredited. I am not accusing the author of this post of engaging in improper actions.

Reply8321

You should think less about PR and more about truth.

By "discredited" I didn't mean receive bad but undeserved publicity. I meant operate in a way that would cause reasonable people to distrust you.

I understand your concerns, and appreciate your note that you are not accusing me of engaging in improper actions.

Your points are valid. I do acknowledge that the circumstances under which I am making this post, as well as my various departures from objective writing -- that is, the instances in this post in which I depart from {solely providing information detailing what Annie has claimed -- naturally raise concerns about the motives driving my creation of this post.

I will say:

  1. Regarding the fact that this is my first LessWrong post -- I acknowledge that this is unfortunate considering the gravity of the issue which this post addresses. 
  2. Regarding my anonymity -- I purposefully chose to make this post anonymously. This post discusses a very, very serious topic - the fact that Sam Altman's sister, Annie Altman, is claiming that he has severely (e.g. sexually) abused her. If Annie's claims turn out to be (provably) true, this would likely warrant an immediate dismissal of Sam Altman from his current position position as CEO of OpenAI, as well as from a variety of other impactful positions he currently holds. Given the gravity of this post and its potential ramifications, I chose
... (read more)

1. There isn't a shred of evidence for her accusations.
2. He was just 13 years old (undeveloped PFC).

Saying "Annie has not yet provided what I would consider direct / indisputable proof that her claims are true" is a gross understatement. Not only isn't there "direct / indisputable proof", there isn't a shred of evidence to support her accusation, and in fact there are aspects of the claim that seem rather dubious (such SA getting her shadowbanned "across all platforms except onlyfans and pornhub", which aside from being difficult to pull off, seems incons... (read more)

9jjaksic
What direct evidence can someone provide to prove that they were abused as a child? (Note that most 4-year-olds know nothing about sex or sexual abuse, leave alone how to respond to it; nor would they be able to record it.) In Annie's case there's a good amount of circumstantial evidence, e.g. suicidal thoughts, anxiety and depression at a very young age, which are PTSD symptoms typical for victims of childhood sexual abuse. Beyond this, I can't imagine what other evidence she could possibly provide, even if it happened 100%. My son was abused by a preschool teacher when he was 3 (not sexually, but verbally and physically). Once he told us that the teacher hit him and described how. We called his classmate's parents, and his classmate described what happened in the exact same way; then he shut his ears (as if trying to block the memory of my son crying) and said that he's afraid to talk about it. Both kids were terrified of going back to school, and my son had major PTSD and anxerty for over a year. We immediately reported abuse to all levels of the school administration, the county school licensing board, and the police. The teacher denied it and the school didn't have cameras. The final conclusion of the process was that "there's no evidence", which to the school was as good as "it didn't happen". The teacher continues to teach there to this day. 2 years later our son still remembers that teacher as being generally awful, but he seems to have suppressed the memory of this specific incident, because it was too painful. If it's impossible to prove child abuse even when two parents (who know it happened, are supportive and know what they're doing) start the process immediately and go through all available channels, what chance does a 4-year-old have whose caregivers are either unaware or not supportive? What chance does a person have if they remember or realize what had happened after 20 years? If you personally were abused as a child, how would you prove it? Si

Thus, I must currently hold Sam Altman guilty

 

*innocent

0pl5015
My mistake. Fixed it. Thanks for pointing that out!

Shadow banning of people in sex work is quite common. Doesn't necessarily mean it's targeted against her. If she put up any sexually explicit content of any kind or mentions "sex work" on platforms like Instagram, it results pretty quickly in her posts no longer showing up on a general feed, and her being only searchable when her name is explicitly written by a direct connection/follower.

"Shadow banning" is a common thing on the internet that people in the sex industry have complained about for years as an unfair form of censorship:

https://www.modalitygrou... (read more)

It's hard to know if any of the information is true, but starting with the lowest hanging fruit:

Why insist she needs to be on Zoloft to receive the money from her father's will?

It does seem like a type of economic abuse not give her financial stability or insist on certain terms for it.

Sexually abused or not, she is not well if she has to do survival sex work. Why not provide her with modest financial stability with no strings attached, it can't be worse than the situation she is in now.

It's hard to see where Sam Altman is coming from on this when he helpe... (read more)

3 factors I haven't seen highlighted:

1) While the base rate for sexual abuse, by a sibling, of a toddler is already extremely low (sexual abuse of children is somewhat rare. 'Abuse of toddlers' and 'abuse by siblings' are both much rarer subsets), the claim that both of her brothers were abusing a sibling toddler makes it drastically rarer. Even for identical twins, more mundane sexual preferences such as homosexuality only have ~33% correlation. Both her brothers having the outrageously rare sexual proclivity to abuse a toddler sister is close to astronom... (read more)

2DPiepgrass
Annie didn't say specifically that Jack sexually abused her, though; her language indicated some unspecified lesser abuse that may or may not have been sexual.

However, Annie has not yet provided what I would consider direct / indisputable proof that her claims are true. Thus, rationally, I must consider Sam Altman innocent.

This is an interesting view on rationality that I hadn't considered

When I saw the topic, my first thought is that the epistemics of discussions of this sort (he said - she said stories about sins and perceptions) are inherently bad and cause more harm to those who engage with them than good. But the post isn't terrible quality.

Nonetheless, I am pre-committing to downvoting any future post about the personal relationships of famous people, which I take to be the category of thing, I am objecting to.

8JohnBuridan
I stand by this comment. What could cause me to change my mind? Here are my cruxes. If character assessment posts about particular people can be shown to cause a useful actions or ways of thinking for readers more often than they distract readers by unverifiable gossip. If character assessment posts about particular people is used as a case study for reasoning about particular people to teach a broader lesson. If character assessment posts about particular people allows community members to protect themselves from a real danger. However, my beliefs are that these types of posts are juicy gossip that fuel idle speculation and status hierarchy games and serve no purpose except to make those who engage with content worse people who think more simplistically about human behavior and motivation. Even though this particular post is done fairly well for what it is, I think it is "bad form" and, perhaps, on the wrong site.
5Adam Zerner
It makes me happy to see such a cruxy comment like this. Thanks. The cruxes seem reasonable. However, I feel like it's appropriate to upvote/downvote based on how confident you are on your position for each of them. Like, if it's really clear that a particular post will have the consequence of pushing people really far towards distracting gossip and away from useful actions, then downvote. If the opposite, maybe upvote. If it's unclear, probably do nothing. Because this post is about the person who might be the most powerful person in the domain of AI, and thus is perhaps the most important person in the entire world, or even perhaps throughout history, I think it's actually a decently important topic. Because of magnitude, not probability. Like, even if there is a low probability that we figure out the truth, and of P(useful action | figure out truth), the magnitude of the positive impact could very well be large, and so it seems to me like a topic that is plausibly worth exploring. Enough that I upvoted it. I think I personally have a tendency to see people like Sam Altman and Elon Musk and get caught up in thinking they're so awesome, and then am a victim of the halo effect. I find concrete examples of "wait, they frequently do things that aren't very awesome" helpful. I suspect the same is true for many others.
1Adam Zerner
It makes things more difficult, but by wielding Bayescraft appropriately, discussion and updating can certainly still occur. I think that is usually true. However, it is still true that some people should be having the conversation. I like what Raemon proposed about some sort of "jury duty".

This is my first post in Less Wrong — I discovered rationalism very recently (like, during Less Online recent) and am still learning the LW vocab/exploring concepts etc so please bear with me! 

In fact, my comment is more of a question: I'd like to contribute a viewpoint coming from personal anecdote rather than factual evidence. Most of the discourse I'm reading is references to studies or statistical analysis. There are some impersonal anecdotes, eg people bringing up neighbours and friends-of-friends, so it does look like there's some leeway. 

H... (read more)

One fact you're missing in your otherwise rather thorough collection of internet expression by Annie Altman:

You state several times that Sam Altman offered to by Annie Altman a house. However, she wrote in her Medium article that it was clear she would have no direct ownership of that house. In other words, Sam was buying a house for himself, and letting his sister live in it, on the condition of her silence and complicity:

"We spoke on the phone three times, and through these conversations I began to suspect the offer was another attempt at control. It see... (read more)

While Annie didn't reply to the "confirm/deny" tweet, she did quote-tweet ittwice:

Wow, thank you. This feels like a study guide version of a big chunk of my therapy discussions. Yes can confirm accuracy. Need some time to process, and then can specify details of what happened with both my Dad and Grandma’s will and trust

Thank you more than words for your time and attention researching. All accurate in the current form, except there was no lawyer connected to the “I’ll give you rent and physical therapy money if you go back on Zoloft”

[-]xiann1-3

I know this post will seem very insensitive, so I understand if it gets downvoted (though I would also say that's the very reason sympathy-exploitation tactics work), but I would like to posit a 3rd fork to the "How to Interpret This" section: That Annie suffers from a combination of narcissistic personality disorder and false memory creation in service of the envy that disorder spawns. If someone attempted to fabricate a story that was both maximally sympathy-inducing and reputation-threatening for the target, I don't think you could do much better than t... (read more)

4jjaksic
Are a person's mental disorders (especially ones that started in early childhood) the person's own fault, or are they possibly a consequence of trauma or abuse? If you abuse someone as a child, they are very likely to develop some mental disorders (the greater the abuse, the more severe and long-lasting they're likely to be). Is it then fair to say, "This person's claims of abuse have no merit, just look at their mental disorders" (as in, a "crazy person's" claims should not be believed)?

The LessWrong Review runs every year to select the posts that have most stood the test of time. This post is not yet eligible for review, but will be at the end of 2024. The top fifty or so posts are featured prominently on the site throughout the year.

Hopefully, the review is better than karma at judging enduring value. If we have accurate prediction markets on the review results, maybe we can have better incentives on LessWrong today. Will this post make the top fifty?

My default is that people shouldn't be judged by random strangers on the internet over the claims of other random strangers on the internet. As random strangers to Sam, we should not want to be in judgment of him over the claims of some other random stranger. This isn't good or normal or healthy.

Moreover, it is unlikely that we will devote the required amount of time & effort to really know what we're talking about, which we should if we're going to attack him or signal boost attacks. And if we are going to devote the great amount of time necessary, co... (read more)