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Sam Altman Just Pledged to Give Away Most of His Fortune

Sam Altman is the latest billionaire to promise his fortune to charity.

The OpenAI CEO and his husband, software engineer Oliver Mulherin, have officially joined the Giving Pledge list. The campaign, which was started by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates in 2017, encourages the world’s richest philanthropists to donate most of their wealth to charitable causes.

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“We would not be making this pledge if it weren’t for the hard work, brilliance, generosity, and dedication to improve the world of many people that built the scaffolding of society that let us get here,” the pair wrote in a letter. “There is nothing we can do except feel immense gratitude and commit to pay it forward, and do what we can to build the scaffolding up a little higher.

“We intend to focus our giving on supporting technology that helps create abundance for people, so that they can then build the scaffolding even higher,” the couple continued.

Altman, who’s worth an estimated $2 billion according to Bloomberg, follows in the footsteps of other high-profile philanthropists including Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos. In 2022, the Amazon founder publicly pledged to give away most of his $124 billion fortune to support climate change and additional charitable causes. Bezos’s ex-wife, Mackenzie Scott, joined the Giving Pledge in 2019 and has since donated two Beverly Hills mansions, in addition to $16.5 billion in gifts, to nonprofits around the world.

Most recently, Melinda French Gates announced she’ll be handing out $1 billion over the next two years following her resignation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Earlier this month, she told The New York Times that her contribution would go toward supporting “people and organizations working on behalf of women and families around the world, including on reproductive rights in the United States.”

Altman, who launched OpenAI in 2015 alongside Elon Musk, has been regularly making headlines since he was abruptly fired in November 2023 and shortly after rehired following an investigation. Now, the cofounder has found himself in hot water once again for allegedly using Scarlett Johansson’s voice for the company’s AI chatbot, ChatGPT. Altman reportedly asked the actress to participate, however, after she declined, an eerily similar voice assistant named Sky appeared on the platform. In addition, the company is also facing lawsuits from several different newspapers over copyright infringement claims.

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