“Father” by ChatGPT
Nov 20, 2023
At OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, chaos reigns. On Friday, boss Sam Altman was fired. The biggest donors wanted him to return, but the quick return failed on Sunday. On Monday it was announced that the “father” of ChatGPT was moving to Microsoft.
Conditions are currently chaotic at OpenAI: The previous boss, Sam Altman, was fired on Friday, but was due to return to his position on Sunday due to pressure from investors. Altman was also in his old office with a guest pass, but things turned out completely differently. After technology boss Mira Murati took over the top job on Friday, Emmett Shear has been the new interim CEO since late Sunday evening. He previously worked as CEO at Twitch. Nothing came of the quick return. But Altman didn’t stay out of work for long; on Monday, Microsoft boss Satya Nadella announced on the short message service X that the ex-head of OpenAI would be moving to Microsoft.
The board of directors had withdrawn confidence in Altman
OpenAI’s board of directors unexpectedly withdrew confidence in Sam Altman on Friday. The reason for this was an alleged lack of sincerity in his communication with the committee. Altman, 38, was the prominent face of OpenAI and symbolized the boom in artificial intelligence.
Reports suggest that internal disagreements over the company’s direction led to his dismissal. Some OpenAI executives felt that Altman was pushing AI software development too fast and taking too commercial an approach. They were able to convince the majority of the board of directors to agree with their view. Mira Murati, the technology director, took interim leadership.
However, Murati did not hold this position for long because some employees threatened to quit. Then on Sunday Altman suddenly appeared in his office again. He posted a selfie from the Open AI offices holding a guest badge as the board considers its next move.
Board elects ex-Twitch CEO as interim boss
While Altman hoped to return to his position quickly, the board had other plans. It took Steve Jobs twelve years to return as CEO of Apple; Altman seemed to be able to do it in three days.
But late Sunday, Emmett Shear, who previously led Amazon’s streaming platform Twitch, was named interim CEO of the AI company, multiple media outlets reported. The Information first reported Shear’s appointment.
On Saturday, the financial news services Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal reported that OpenAI investors, including Microsoft, Thrive Capital and Tiger Global, are pushing for Sam Altman to be returned to his former position. It was considered that the current board of directors would resign as a unit to make this possible. That didn’t happen for now.
Instead, there was the next surprise on Monday: The boss of Microsoft announced on X (formerly Twitter) that Altman would be working for Microsoft in the future. Together with other employees, he will lead a research team there.
The trigger was differences between two camps of OpenAI
Noted technology journalist Kara Swisher reported that the split within OpenAI was sparked by disagreements between the for-profit and nonprofit factions.
OpenAI was originally launched in 2015 by Sam Altman and others, including Tesla boss Elon Musk, as a nonprofit start-up to research artificial intelligence. However, over time, reinforced by a billion-dollar investment from Microsoft, OpenAI increasingly developed into a for-profit company, which repeatedly provoked criticism, including from Musk.
It remains to be seen whether calm will return to OpenAI following the appointment of Shear as the new interim CEO and Altman’s move to Microsoft. It is also not yet clear what will happen next with ChatGPT. The non-commercial wing now has the upper hand and certainly has different plans than Sam Altman, who pushed forward the commercialization of the chatbot.