After its fired CEO, Sam Altman joined Microsoft after a shocking weekend of boardroom drama that rocked Silicon Valley, the future of OpenAI looked to be in limbo on Monday morning.
After rumors circulated that he could make a spectacular comeback to the business he helped develop into one of the hottest companies in the world, Altman will spearhead a new artificial intelligence project at Microsoft, the tech giant announced early on Monday.
Co-founder and former CEO of Twitch, Emmett Shear, announced his appointment to the position of CEO at OpenAI.
Less than 48 hours after the board of directors of OpenAI declared that they “no longer had confidence” in Altman, a prominent player in the tech sector’s attempts to address the potential benefits and risks of artificial intelligence, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella revealed the hiring of Altman on X.
Ever with its inaugural funding transaction in 2019, Microsoft has been a key financial backer of OpenAI, having contributed billions of dollars. With the widespread use of ChatGPT, a sizable language model chatbot that has come to represent commonplace AI innovation, OpenAI has now emerged as the most well-known of a new breed of AI firms.
That doesn’t seem to have eased OpenAI staff members’ discomfort, though, as they are unhappy with the board’s decisions. Early on Monday, many shared the message “OpenAI is nothing without its people” on X, and reporter Kara Swisher revealed that a large number of the company’s staff members had signed a letter demanding the resignation of OpenAI’s board. NBC News has not verified the information reported.
Board member and OpenAI co-founder Ilya Sutskever wrote on X that he felt bad about his part in Altman’s departure.
It seemed like he was hinting that there were plans to bring Altman back.
He wrote, “I will do everything in my power to bring the company back together because I love everything we’ve built together.”
In addition to announcing that Altman will lead a “new advanced AI research team,” Nadella said Microsoft is committed to helping OpenAI, which has a new leadership team. Greg Brockman, an OpenAI co-founder who was kicked off the board and resigned as president on Friday, will also lead this team.
Following an investigation, OpenAI said it severed its relationship with him because he was “not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.”
Although he and Altman were “shocked and saddened” by the board’s decision, Brockman stated in a post on X on Friday that “greater things are coming soon.”
According to a Sunday CNBC article, following the appointment of chief technical officer Mira Murati as interim CEO, some OpenAI investors were calling for Altman’s return.
However, Shear announced early on Monday on X that he would be heading up OpenAI in its place.
Among the things he listed as part of his 30-day plan was hiring an outside investigator “to dig into the entire process leading up to this point and generate a full report.”
Shear stated that “OpenAI’s stability and success are too important to allow turmoil to disrupt them like this,” stating that “I have nothing but respect for what Sam and the entire OpenAI team have built.”
This year, OpenAI topped CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list of the most remarkable and quickly expanding private enterprises. The startup gained notoriety the previous year when it made ChatGPT available to the general public, enabling users to create intricate and comprehensive answers to straightforward text prompts and inquiries.