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In a curious turn of events, three days after the CEO's firing from OpenAI, Microsoft hired Sam Altman. OpenAI's board had lost confidence in his "ability to continue leading OpenAI." This makes Microsoft's decision to hire Altman all the more interesting. Let's explore the events leading up to this.
This past Friday spelled a significant change for OpenAI as, during a video meeting, Sam Altman lost his position as CEO. The decision was quite a shock as the now 38-year-old had held the position since 2019.
And Altman wasn't the only person to be removed from authority. OpenAI co-founder and president Greg Brockman was ousted as the chairman of the OpenAI board. Despite being allowed to retain his role, just a few hours later, the ex-chairman quit. Interestingly, Brockman will also be joining Microsoft.
This change doesn't spell an end to their relationship with OpenAI for the former chief executive officer and the former chairman. In fact, Microsoft and OpenAI hold a long-standing partnership, which means that Altman and Brockman can continue to bring bright ideas and ingenuity to the field of AI.
“Microsoft shares this vision and our values, and our partnership is instrumental to our progress.”
AI has been no minor investment, and Microsoft is well aware of this, having invested billions of dollars into a deal that will lead to the software giant being the exclusive cloud provider for OpenAI. At the start of this year, Microsoft extended its partnership with OpenAI with this investment.
"We formed our partnership with OpenAI around a shared ambition to responsibly advance cutting-edge AI research and democratize AI as a new technology platform," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Nadella was also quoted as having recently stated on X, previously known as Twitter, that Microsoft was "extremely excited” to have Altman and Brockman, among other colleagues, joining them as the “new advanced AI research team.”
And Altman, with resolve, replied, "The mission continues."
Given Microsoft's quick and welcoming reception — it begs the question, why did OpenAI oust Altman? Why had they lost confidence in their former CEO? Well, in a statement put out on Friday, OpenAI discovered that he was "not consistently candid in his communications."
There is speculation among Wall Street analysts that the recent tensions may have originated from Sam Altman's push to develop more advanced artificial intelligence products. New Street Research stated in a research note, “These tensions likely resulted in frustrating communications and Sam making some operational decisions without keeping the board fully aware.”
The research note states that the coup against Altman likely resulted from this.
However, not all who participated in the decision-making were happy to do so.
Ilya Sutskever, Chief Scientist of OpenAI, stated on X, formerly known as Twitter: "I deeply regret my participation in the board's actions. I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we've built together, and I will do everything I can to reunite the company."
Yesterday, 20 November 2023, meant chaos for OpenAI as almost every employee of the popular artificial intelligence research organization threatened to quit and subsequently join former CEO Sam Altman at Microsoft.
In total, 700 of OpenAI's 770 employees signed a letter stating their concerns and intentions. Among these signatures was Sutskever, who had expressed regrets over her joint decision to oust Altman.
The employees held back no words, stating clearly, "Your actions have made it obvious that you are incapable of overseeing OpenAI." What was formerly the most valued startup and AI company in Silicon Valley is now setting investors ill at ease as the company's fate is less clear.
On this same Monday, OpenAI also finds itself with its third interim CEO, this time being Twitch co-founder Emmet Shear. It seems order needs to be achieved if the company expects to return to its former stability and popularity.
As of right now, the turmoil at OpenAI has seemingly set the company off its well-crafted path. The question is, how will they fix this? Will Sam Altman be reinstated as CEO? We suspect one thing: this next week is going to be eventful.
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Joshua J. Brouard brings a rich and varied background to his writing endeavors. With a bachelor of commerce degree and a major in law, he possesses an affinity for tackling business-related challenges. His first writing position at a startup proved instrumental in cultivating his robust business acumen, given his integral role in steering the company's expansion. Complementing this is his extensive track record of producing content across diverse domains for various digital marketing agencies.
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