The Future. OpenAI fired Sam Altman after an investigation by the board found he “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities” …and then quickly changed its mind as the blast radius spread. Although it tried to rehire the co-founder and CEO yesterday, Altman ultimately packed his own bags. As the drama continues to unfold, competitors are already moving fast to snatch up talent, ironically giving Big Tech the chance to pull ahead of the much smaller competitor.
Pink slip hallucination
Things happen fast on the internet… but they may happen faster at OpenAI.
- The board swiftly fired Altman after an internal review due to, as journalist Kara Swisher put it, tensions with chief scientist Ilya Sutskever and “a ‘misalignment’ of the profit versus nonprofit adherents at the company” (OpenAI has a unique organization).
- Specifically, the conflict centered around issues of trust and safety — Altman wanted to move fast and grow, while Sutskever wanted to pump the brakes and re-assess the risks of their systems.
- As CTO Mira Murati took the reins at the firm, things went south quickly: co-founder and president Greg Brockman, senior researchers, and several employees quit.
- Also, Altman and Brockman announced they would start a new AI venture and bring ex-OpenAI staff with them — several OpenAI investors were ready to write checks.
- Facing backlash from major investors and its employees, OpenAI’s board said, “Oops, never mind,” and asked Altman and Brockman to return.
Although Altman engaged with the rehire request, it wasn’t meant to be. Talks fell apart last night and a fresh exodus of employees are following him out the door. Meanwhile, Sutskever doubled down on his initial criticisms, locking the door behind the man who is now arguably the face of AI.
In the interim, Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear will act as CEO… ensuring that Murati gets the Guinness World Record for shortest CEO-tenure ever.
Truly a wild weekend… and we can’t help but feel that what kicked the whole thing off was the board really didn’t want this scene from M3GAN to become a reality.