Sam Altman back as CEO of OpenAI: 8 Reasons + Changes
Sam’s Back. After 5 days of drama and turmoil that shook not only Silicon Valley but the Valleys across the world, OpenAI announced that it had an “agreement in principle” to reinstall Sam Altman as C.E.O., while the board members who pushed him out are departing.
ChatGPT creators and employees celebrated the news. Almost all of them had threatened to quit OpenAI and follow Altmat to Microsoft.
This is a fluid story but here are 8 things you need to know now:
- The OpenAI Board ousted Altman primarily over the concern of his aggressive pursuit over profit while disregarding the negative potential impacts that advanced AI can have on society. In short, Sam was moving too fast for their comfort level.
- Gone are Tasha McCauley, Helen Toner, and Ilya Sutskever, three of the four directors behind Altman’s removal.
- To replace these three departing board members, an “interim” board will take over, led by Bret Taylor, the former Salesforce co-CEO. Larry Summers, the former Treasury secretary, and Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, will also serve interim roles on the board. Altman agreed not to take a board seat initially in order to get the deal done, said the person. He’ll likely join the board eventually. Altman also agreed to an internal investigation into the conduct that led to his dismissal, another person said.
- The reworked OpenAI board will not be final: its main priority is to select up to nine new directors, said a person familiar with the negotiations who asked not to be identified. This larger board will also have slightly different rules of governance. As reported by The Verge, it’s most likely that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will also be on the board. Microsoft is OpenAI’s largest investor.
- These changes tip the scales in favor of rapid innovation and commercialization. The outgoing board had been worried about OpenAI moving too fast to advance A.I. without regard for potentially disastrous consequences for humanity.
- That’s not to say the new board won’t be worried about safety, but the profit motive will definitely play a larger role than it has to date.
- With commercial interests having a bigger say in OpenAI, will the IRS and California, where the organization is based, still regard the company as a nonprofit?
- Expect governments worldwide to quickly tighten their regulations on AI, especially the European Union.