Sam Altman Sacks the Board that Fired Him from OpenAI

The drama continued to unfold at OpenAI as Sam Altman sacked the Board that fired him last week. Sam Altman returned to OpenAI on Wednesday and the first decision since his return was to sack the Board that booted him out of his own company. OpenAI has made waves in technology since its game-changing artificial intelligence-powered chatbot, ChatGPT, launched last November.

The Board has been almost entirely replaced following a mass revolt from the 800-member staff who threatened to decamp with Altman to Microsoft, cementing his position at the helm of the firm. However, the only survivor in the new Altman era is Adam D’Angelo, CEO of Quora.

Ex-Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor and former US Treasury Secretary and president of Harvard University Larry Summers will join D’Angelo as the new Board members.

Yet, neither Altman nor Greg Brockman, the co-founder of OpenAI who resigned as company president after Altman’s sacking, will rejoin the Board, which is set to welcome six new members soon. Altman, expressing his dedication to OpenAI upon resuming his role as CEO, shared on X, ” I love OpenAI, and everything I’ve done over the past few days has been in service of keeping this team and its mission together.”

Controversy Surrounding Executive Departure Sparks Dispute

The five-day drama commenced on Friday when Altman was summarily sacked by the Board, with reasons for his removal still shrouded in ambiguity.

On November 17, the Board ousted Altman, stating in a release that he was removed because “he was not consistently candid in his communications with the Board.”

Some media reports suggested concerns that OpenAI was deviating rapidly from its stated mission of “building safe and beneficial artificial general intelligence for the benefit of humanity” for commercial interests.

In response, OpenAI’s interim CEO Emmett Shear asserted that he had received assurances that “the Board did not remove Sam over any specific disagreement on safety,” providing no further details on the rationale behind Altman’s dismissal.

Concerns Over Governance of AI Technology

Altman’s comeback solidifies his role as a leader in the rapidly advancing realm of generative AI. However, the agreement also highlights Microsoft’s increasing influence over the future of OpenAI.

While OpenAI‘s ChatGPT stands out as the most widely recognized large language model (LLM), other major tech players, such as Google and Meta, have made substantial investments in this powerful AI technology, raising concerns about its governance.

Earlier this month, Western governments and tech corporations reached a consensus on a new safety testing framework to address worries about the rapid expansion of AI and the lack of global safeguards to regulate it.

Speaking at the conference in London, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted that the world is “playing catch-up” in attempts to regulate AI, acknowledging its “possible long-term negative consequences” on everything from jobs to culture.


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