Home News Sam Altman Confession: The Internet Troll Streak and its Impact on Society

Sam Altman Confession: The Internet Troll Streak and its Impact on Society

Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, recently opened up about his tendencies to troll online during a podcast episode with Joe Rogan. The conversation delved deep into the emotional repercussions of internet interactions and the broader societal implications.

Key Highlights:

  • Sam Altman admits to having an “internet troll streak” but tries to limit it.
  • Trolling can disrupt lives, careers, and relationships.
  • The internet has increased our tolerance for emotional violence.
  • Altman discusses the negative impacts of legacy social media platforms.
  • The CEO has deleted several social media apps from his phone.

The Allure of Trolling:

Altman confessed to occasionally giving in to the urge to stir up drama online, admitting he has a more pronounced “internet troll streak” than he’d like to acknowledge. While he tries to resist the temptation, he occasionally falters. Altman highlighted that trolling, or reacting with the intent to provoke others online, can stimulate our reward systems. Joe Rogan equated these interactions to bursts of energy, especially when numerous individuals engage with a single idea simultaneously.

The Repercussions of Online Interactions:

Altman emphasized the severe consequences of such behaviors, noting that he’s witnessed these reactive tendencies derail the lives, careers, and relationships of well-intentioned individuals. He described it as a battle against an inner demon, without going into specific details.

Emotional Violence in the Digital Age:

The OpenAI CEO pointed out a concerning trend: while society’s tolerance for physical violence has decreased over the years, our acceptance of emotional violence, especially online, has surged. The ease with which individuals send hurtful messages, like derogatory tweets, without considering their potential impact, is becoming a significant societal issue.

The Dark Side of Social Media:

Altman and Rogan also touched upon the negative ramifications of legacy social media platforms. Platforms like Instagram, which once served as virtual town squares, now trap users in hours of doom scrolling due to their algorithmically driven feeds. These platforms can also intensify political divides. As a result, many individuals are either reducing their time on these platforms or seeking interactions through smaller group chats and newer platforms.

Personal Measures:

Altman revealed that he has deleted numerous social media applications from his phone, hinting at his personal approach to mitigate the negative impacts of these platforms. OpenAI, however, did not comment on the discussion.


In a candid conversation with Joe Rogan, OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, shed light on his “internet troll streak” and the broader implications of online interactions. The discussion highlighted the emotional violence prevalent in the digital age, the pitfalls of legacy social media platforms, and the personal measures taken by individuals, including Altman, to combat the negative effects of the online world. The conversation serves as a reminder of the need for mindful online interactions and the potential repercussions of our digital footprints.