You Couldn’t Script It! Sam Altman Saga Full of Drama
It’s been a busy week or so for high-profile entrepreneur and investor, Sam Altman. We recap the details.
“A Netflix documentary in the making.”
That’s how one investment firm described the shock departure of OpenAI’s co-founder and CEO, Sam Altman, late last week.
Leading up to this dramatic moment, it was reported that the board of OpenAI – which created ChatGPT – felt that Altman hadn’t been “candid enough in his communication” with the company.
After an action-packed few days that saw OpenAI’s powerful investors attempt to bring Altman back into the fold, Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, confirmed on social media platform X that Altman had joined the company as its new head of advanced artificial intelligence.
Major Implications for ChatGPT
It’s a crazy turn of events and one that’s likely to sink OpenAI’s share price even before it’s listed.
With OpenAI valued at more than $AU130 billion before Altman’s exit, the huge shake-up – which now sees former Twitch founder and CEO, Emmett Shear, head up OpenAI on an interim basis – will have major implications for ChatGPT.
The whole thing essentially came about because OpenAI’s complicated board structure left so much of the power to the parent company’s non-profit board.
It was the board that ousted Altman and it’s the board that will now likely feel the wrath of the tech industry.
Plenty of tech titans paid tribute to Altman over the weekend, including former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt.
“He built a company from nothing to $US90 billion ($AU130 billion) in value, and changed our collective world forever. I can’t wait to see what he does next. I, and billions of people, will benefit from his future work – it’s going to be simply incredible,” wrote Schmidt in a gushing post on X.
Sam Altman Not the Only Departure
Altman wasn’t the only big-name departure from OpenAI, with media reports suggesting the company’s director of research, Aleksander Madry, and head of risk, Szymon Sidor, had also resigned.
They were soon followed by the company’s president, Greg Brockman, who has once again linked up with Altman at Microsoft.
It will be as fascinating to see what Altman and Brockman do at Microsoft, as it is to see where ChatGPT goes from here.
It’s like three seasons of Succession, Game Of Thrones, and The Sopranos all rolled into one!
One thing is certain… there’s never a dull moment in the tech world!
Update: Since this article was published, it was announced that Sam Altman is returning to OpenAI.
“We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board,” OpenAI said via a statement on 23 November (Australian time).
And so the drama continues! Watch this space…
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