OpenAI, Sam Altman and Microsoft drama: What you need to know
There are some days when the news technology are breaking into the mainstream news. Big Apple launch, next-gen consoles, Zuckerberg defending Meta privacy scandals and Elon Musk it makes us all sigh the biggest sighs.
This is such a day that it seems that it could have consequences not only for future of artificial intelligence, but also for the future of humanity.
Last Friday, the board of OpenAI, the powerhouse behind virtual chatbot ChatGPT, announced it was ousting key co-founder and CEO Sam Altman, citing a desire for a change in direction to head off the breakneck pace of AI development. ensure greater accountability moving forward. Mira Murati, the company's chief technology officer, was announced as the successor.
“OpenAI was purposefully built to advance our mission: to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity. The board remains fully committed to serving this mission,” he said in a statement.
“We are grateful for Sam's many contributions to the founding and development of OpenAI. At the same time, we believe that new leadership is needed as we move forward. As the leader of the company's research, product and security functions, Mira is uniquely qualified to take on the role of interim CEO. We have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead OpenAI through this transition period.”
The weekend saw an outpouring of support from hundreds of OpenAI employees, who demanded they resign unless Altman was reinstated, and the board itself resigned from the company. In it, one of the four board members who orchestrated the change expressed regret on Monday and a desire to reunite the company.
As of Monday, November 29, Altman and another co-founder Greg Brockman were announced as new employees of Microsoft. Altman's new role will be heading up a new AI research division within Microsoft and, it seems, along with all the OpenAI employees who wanted to come along.
Microsoft CEO Satay Nadella confirmed that cowork with OpenAI, of which Microsoft already owns a 49% stake, will continue, and Altman would be among those working with his former company "to provide them with the resources they need to succeed."
Altman also promised to ensure that "OpenAI continues to thrive."
Throughout Monday, it was thought that the Altman deal was not open and closed, and there may still be a chance that Altman could return. As of Monday night, that no longer seems possible, as the appointment of the former OpenAI CEO to Microsoft appears to be official.
Whether many of OpenAI's employees and engineers will remain remains to be seen. More than 500 of the 700 workers expressed their solidarity with Altman by threatening to leave the company. There is apparently an open invitation from Satya Nadella for these disgruntled employees to join the new AI research division at Microsoft.
It seems that what might come of this is that Microsoft gets the best of OpenAI talent, while its continued partnership with the company gives it access to proprietary ChatGPT technology and other AI innovations.
Microsoft has invested $13 billion in OpenAI as part of a partnership with the company that powers new innovations like Windows Copilot, Bing Search's conversational elements, and more.
Although Microsoft does not have influence on the board in its minority stake, this situation could at least be more power or a path to full ownership of the company at a price much lower than its recent valuation of $90 billion.
The decision to drop Altman already looks like a terrible own goal by the OpenAI board. Microsoft stands to reap the benefits and perhaps steal the kind of AI march that can only be matched by Google's early and continued dominance of search and, by extension, the internet in general.
The events of the last few days are important. not only for the world of technology, but perhaps for humanity itself.