OpenAI CEO Sam Altman faced criticism from staff researchers who wrote a letter to the board warning of a powerful AI discovery with potential threats to humanity.

The letter, along with concerns about commercializing advances without understanding consequences, contributed to Altman's firing.

Over 700 employees had threatened to quit in solidarity with Altman before his return.

The letter referenced a project called Q* (pronounced Q-Star), which some at OpenAI believe could be a breakthrough in the search for artificial general intelligence (AGI).

Q* reportedly demonstrated the ability to solve certain mathematical problems at the level of grade-school students, raising optimism about its future success.

The researchers emphasized the importance of addressing safety concerns related to AI's potential dangers, although specific details were not provided.

There was mention of an "AI scientist" team exploring how to optimize existing AI models for improved reasoning and scientific work.

Altman, who led efforts to make ChatGPT a rapidly growing software application, was fired by the board after teasing major advances at a summit of world leaders.

The firing occurred amid discussions about the potential dangers posed by highly intelligent machines and the ethical considerations surrounding AI development.

Despite recent advances teased by Altman, the board fired him, citing a range of grievances, including concerns about AI developments.