OpenAI, the company that introduced ChatGPT (for better or worse), fired CEO Sam Altman, the man behind the AI tool, in an unexpected shake-up last week, and now everyone is scrambling to pick up the pieces. We all knew that AI would take our jobs, but not in this way.
On Friday, OpenAI announced “leadership changes” which was just a fancy way to say that Altman was fired from his leadership position. The company announced the change in a blog post: “Mr. Altman’s departure follows a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities,” the statement read.
The post continued, “The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.” Altman was fired late Friday, though he already has a job lined up at Microsft, who are big investors in the company and were allegedly not happy about OpenAI’s decision to fire Altman. Altman took to Twitter to respond to the news:
i loved my time at openai. it was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit. most of all i loved working with such talented people.
will have more to say about what’s next later.
— Sam Altman (@sama) November 17, 2023
Earlier this year, Altman testified before Congress, highlighting the risks of AI and ChatGPT evolving without proper interference. “We think that regulatory intervention by governments will be critical to mitigate the risks of increasingly powerful models,” Altman said in his opening remarks. It seems that Altman’s stance had raised concerns in the company.
Even though Altman has found his next position, CNN seems to think that OpenAI fumbled the firing and the aftermath, and there are only a few ways that the company can get back on track:
With OpenAI’s ChatGPT-like capabilities embedded in Bing and other core products, Microsoft believed it had invested wisely in the promising new tech of the future. So it must have come as a shock to CEO Satya Nadella and his crew when they learned about Altman’s firing along with the rest of the world on Friday evening.
The board angered a powerful ally and could be forever changed because of the way it handled Altman’s ouster. It could end up with Altman back at the helm, a for-profit company on its nonprofit board – and a massive culture shift at OpenAI.
Alternatively, it could become a competitor to Altman, who may ultimately decide to start a new company and drain talent from OpenAI.