In journalism, it’s common knowledge that a company’s Friday afternoon statement is usually not good news.
Thus, on Nov. 17, OpenAI declared that co-founder and CEO Sam Altman, who was also the company’s main proponent of the mind-blowing ChatGPT generative AI chatbot, had been fired. According to a blog post by OpenAI announcing its leadership change, the board asked Altman to leave because it no longer trusted him to guide the San Francisco-based company.
The board’s deliberate review process led to the conclusion that Mr. Altman was not always truthful in his communications with the board, which impeded the board’s ability to carry out its duties. As a result, the board decided to fire him. The board no longer believes he can lead OpenAI in the future.
It appears that he will not be present on November 30th, ChatGPT’s first birthday.
The OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI’s independent directors, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, tech entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner of the Georgetown Centre for Security and Emerging Technology are the board members who fired Altman. The company’s chief technology officer, Mira Murati, was appointed as interim CEO while OpenAI looks for a long-term replacement for Altman. In a post, co-founder and board chairman Greg Brockman expressed his shock and sadness over the board’s decision to fire Altman. Brockman also left the company.
Given that Altman has been the face of generative AI chatbots, this is a big deal in the AI industry. He has pushed for legislation to help businesses figure out how to keep innovating while simultaneously protecting against the potential security, privacy, and humanity-ending threats that genAI could pose in the hands of bad actors. He has also touted ChatGPT’s potential to assist advancements in human achievement. With more than 1.5 billion visits in October, Similarweb claims that ChatGPT is the most popular genAI tool.
According to the report, Mr Altman, 38, had a “stunned fall.” Over the past year, he had emerged as one of the most fascinating characters in the tech industry and one of the most prominent executives. Altman became a sort of overnight celebrity and the face of a new wave of artificial intelligence (AI) tools that can create texts and images in response to basic user commands. Altman’s departure has caused a significant upheaval in the AI industry. Although it wasn’t made clear what Altman was allegedly hiding from the board of his company, it was stated that he was fired for “allegedly lying to the board of his company.”
Altman was already well-known in Silicon Valley as a shrewd investor and champion of smaller businesses before the emergence of OpenAI thrust him into the ranks of tech titans alongside Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, and even the late Steve Jobs. Speaking onstage at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco as recently as Thursday, Altman was assuming the role of CEO.
After helping to launch OpenAI as a non-profit in 2015 with support from tech billionaires Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Reid Hoffman, Altman took over as CEO in 2020. He wrote on X, a social media platform similar to Twitter, expressing his love for his time at OpenAI. It changed him personally and, hopefully, the world in some small way. Above all, he enjoyed collaborating with individuals of such talent.
He also mentioned that he will talk more about what comes next later.Co-founder of OpenAI Brockman tweeted a quick timeline regarding the board’s announcement on Friday. He also mentioned that he and Altman “are still trying to figure out exactly what happened.”
That indicates that the story is still developing from a journalistic standpoint.