Sam Altman, former CEO of OpenAI, speaks during The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Tech Live Conference in Laguna Beach, California on October 17, 2023.
The tech world was stunned to hear that OpenAI founder and CEO Sam Altman was suddenly fired from his position on November 17 over an alleged refusal to be “candid in his communications” with the company’s board. Over the weekend, reports surfaced claiming there were efforts to bring him back to Open AI, led by its largest investor, Microsoft.Ex-OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is joining Microsoft. The founder of ChatGPT will now be leading a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) research team, announced Satya Nadella, the CEO of the software giant, on Sunday. The co-founder of OpenAI Greg Brockman is also getting on board.“We’re extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team. We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success,” said Nadella in a post on social media.© Photo : satyanadella/XScreenshot of X post by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.Screenshot of X post by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.Meanwhile, Emmett Shear, co-founder of Amazon-owned video streaming site Twitch, will be taking over the CEO position at OpenAI vacated by Altman.”We look forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI’s new leadership team and working with them,” wrote the Microsoft CEO on the X social media platform (formerly Twitter).© Photo : sama/XScreenshot of X post by former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.Screenshot of X post by former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.Altman also went on X to first post a photo of himself holding an OpenAI guest badge with the caption: “first and last time i ever wear one of these.” In a later post on Sunday he acknowledged he was joining Microsoft. He reposted Nadella, adding the cryptic words “the mission continues.”© Photo : sama/XScreenshot of X post by former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.Screenshot of X post by former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman.In response, Satya Nadella touted the company’s stance allowing innovators “space to build independent identities and cultures within Microsoft,” and in a nod at GitHub and LinkedIn, added that he was “looking forward to having you do the same.”AmericasRecently Ousted CEO Sam Altman May Return to Company Responsible for ChatGPTYesterday, 20:36 GMTNews that OpenAI founder and CEO Sam Altman was suddenly fired from his position had stunned Silicon Valley on Friday.“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 board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI,” the company said in its blog post. Then-OpenAI President Greg Brockman, Director of Research Jakub Pachocki, researcher Szymon Sidor, and AI safety lead Aleksander Madry all announced their resignation in solidarity with Altman hours after his sacking. Prominent investors in OpenAI, including Microsoft, were reportedly blindsided by the decision. Over the weekend reports surfaced claiming that negotiations were ongoing to reinstate Altman at OpenAI. At the time, US media reported that Altman might be considering a return to OpenAI but would require the board that ousted him to be replaced. He also purportedly cited the demand for a new governance structure as a precondition. It was also speculated that Altman was considering forming a new company with ex-OpenAI colleagues.AmericasMysterious CEO Firing at ChatGPT Triggers Employee Protest Resignations18 November, 20:59 GMTWhen news of the sacking broke, speculation emerged that the decision stemmed from disagreements within the company over AI safety. OpenAI was established back in 2015. It was conceived to research “safe and beneficial” artificial intelligence technology, with the goal of developing “highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work.” As its trademark ChatGPT software became increasingly popular, critics raised their voices to question the safety implications of highly sophisticated artificial intelligence. It should be noted that development of the technology has even caused some to warn of potentially science fiction-like scenarios where humans are unable to contain the power of AI systems.