Machine Learning Researcher Links OpenAI to Drug-Fueled Sex Parties

Machine Learning Researcher Links OpenAI to Drug-Fueled Sex Parties
Machine Learning Researcher Links OpenAI to Drug-Fueled Sex Parties

A machine learning researcher is claiming to have knowledge of kinky drug-fueled orgies in Silicon Valley’s storied hacker houses — and appears to be linking those parties, and the culture surrounding them, to OpenAI.

“The thing about being active in the hacker house scene is you are accidentally signing up for a career as a shadow politician in the Silicon Valley startup scene,” begins the lengthy X-formerly-Twitter post by Sonia Joseph, a former Princeton ML researcher who’s now affiliated with the deep learning institute Mila Quebec.

What follows is a vague and anecdotal diatribe about the “dark side” of startup culture — made particularly explosive by Joseph’s reference to so-called “consensual non-consent” sex parties that she says took place within the artificial general intelligence (AGI) enthusiast community in the valley.

The jumping off point, as far as we can tell, stems from a thread announcing that OpenAI superalignment chief Jan Leike was leaving the company as it dissolved his team that was meant to prevent advanced AI from going rogue.

At the end of his X thread, Leike encouraged remaining employees to “feel the AGI,” a phrase that was also ascribed to newly-exited OpenAI cofounder Ilya Sutskever during seemingly cultish rituals revealed in an Atlantic exposé last year — but nothing in that piece, nor the superalignment chief’s tweets, suggests anything having to do with sex, drugs, or kink.

Still, Joseph addressed her second viral memo-length tweet “to the journalists contacting me about the AGI consensual non-consensual (cnc) sex parties.” And in the post, said she’d witnessed “some troubling things” in Silicon Valley’s “community house scene” when she was in her early 20s and new to the tech industry.

“It is not my place to speak as to why Jan Leike and the superalignment team resigned. I have no idea why and cannot make any claims,” wrote the researcher, who is not affiliated with OpenAI. “However, I do believe my cultural observations of the SF AI scene are more broadly relevant to the AI industry.”

“I don’t think events like the consensual non-consensual (cnc) sex parties and heavy LSD use of some elite AI researchers have been good for women,” Joseph continued. “They create a climate that can be very bad for female AI researchers… I believe they are somewhat emblematic of broader problems: a coercive climate that normalizes recklessness and crossing boundaries, which we are seeing playing out more broadly in the industry today. Move fast and break things, applied to people.”

While she said she doesn’t think there’s anything generally wrong with “sex parties and heavy LSD use,” she also charged that the culture surrounding these alleged parties “leads to some of the most coercive and fucked up social dynamics that I have ever seen.”

“I have seen people repeatedly get shut down for pointing out these problems,” Joseph wrote. “Once, when trying to point out these problems, I had three OpenAI and Anthropic researchers debate whether I was mentally ill on a Google document. I have no history of mental illness; and this incident stuck with me as an example of blindspots/groupthink.”

“It’s likely these problems are not really on OpenAI but symptomatic of a much deeper rot in the Valley,” she added. “I wish I could say more, but probably shouldn’t.”

Overall, it’s hard to make heads or tails of these claims. We’ve reached out to Joseph and OpenAI for more info.

“I’m not under an NDA. I never worked for OpenAI,” Joseph wrote. “I just observed the surrounding AI culture through the community house scene in SF, as a fly-on-the-wall, hearing insider information and backroom deals, befriending dozens of women and allies and well-meaning parties, and watching many them get burned.”

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Machine Learning Researcher Links OpenAI to Drug-Fueled Sex Parties

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