Altman has been reinstated as the CEO of OpenAI only a few days after being terminated from the position.
The former CEO of OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, is going back to the company that terminated him last week. This marks the end of a heated battle for control that has garnered attention in the tech world and raised concerns about ethical AI development.
OpenAI, headquartered in San Francisco, announced on Tuesday evening, “We have come to a preliminary agreement for Sam Altman to resume his role as CEO at OpenAI, along with a new starting board.”
The new board, which took over after Altman was removed on Friday, will be headed by Bret Taylor, former co-CEO of Salesforce and previous chairman of Twitter’s board before it was acquired by Elon Musk in the previous year. Other members include Larry Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, and Adam D’Angelo, CEO of Quora.
The former board of directors at OpenAI, which consisted of D’Angelo, declined to provide a clear explanation for the termination of Altman. This caused turmoil within the company and increased pressure from external investors over the weekend.
The disorder highlighted the contrasting views between Altman, who has been seen as the figurehead of the quick commercialization of generative AI since ChatGPT’s debut a year ago, and the board members of the company who have shown concerns about the potential safety hazards of AI as it develops further.
Microsoft, which has invested billions of dollars in OpenAI and has rights to its current technology, quickly moved to hire Altman on Monday, as well as another co-founder and former president, Greg Brockman, who had quit in protest after Altman’s removal.
This caused a strong possibility of most of the startup’s 770 workers leaving, as they wrote a letter demanding the board step down and Altman come back.
One of the four individuals on the board involved in removing Altman, Ilya Sutskever, the co-founder and chief scientist of OpenAI, later expressed remorse and joined in requesting for the board to step down.
In recent days, Microsoft announced that they would be accepting any employees who wished to join Altman and Brockman in a new AI research division. CEO Satya Nadella also expressed his willingness for Altman to potentially return to OpenAI, as long as the company’s governance concerns are addressed.
Nadella shared on X Tuesday evening that they are pleased with the alterations made to the OpenAI board. They view this as a crucial initial measure towards achieving a more reliable, knowledgeable, and efficient form of governance.
Altman stated in his own post that he is excited to rejoin OpenAI with the support of the new board and Satya, and to continue strengthening their partnership with Microsoft.
Altman helped establish a nonprofit organization with the goal of responsibly developing artificial general intelligence, surpassing human abilities and improving society. Although OpenAI has now transitioned into a for-profit company, its nonprofit board of directors remains in charge. It is unknown if the board’s composition will be altered with the addition of new members.
OpenAI posted on X, stating that they are working together to determine the specifics. They also expressed gratitude for the patience shown during this process.
Nadella stated that Brockman, who previously served as OpenAI’s board chairman before Altman’s dismissal, will also play a significant role in guaranteeing the organization’s ongoing success and advancement towards its goals.
Earlier in the day, Brockman resumed using social media as if nothing had happened. He promoted a new feature called ChatGPT Voice, which was being released to users.
“Take a chance and see how it transforms the ChatGPT experience,” stated Brockman, referring to a post on OpenAI’s primary X account showcasing the capabilities of the technology and making a playful nod to recent conflicts.
The team has had a lengthy night and is feeling hungry. The individual inquires about the number of 16-inch pizzas needed to feed 778 people, the total number of employees at OpenAI. ChatGPT’s artificial voice suggests ordering approximately 195 pizzas to ensure each person receives three slices.
As for OpenAI’s short-lived interim CEO Emmett Shear, the second interim CEO in the days since Altman’s ouster, he posted on X that he was “deeply pleased by this result, after ~72 very intense hours of work.”
“When I joined OpenAI, I was uncertain of the best course of action,” stated Shear, the ex-CEO of Twitch. “Ultimately, this was the route that prioritized safety and fairness for all parties involved. I am grateful to have contributed to finding a resolution.”