Director of OpenAI returnsBack
After investors spent a weekend trying to get the suddenly fired Sam Altman to return as director of OpenAI, it emerged yesterday that Altman is switching to Microsoft. And he takes a number of people with him.
Altman has become the face of developments in artificial intelligence (AI). He was fired completely unexpectedly on Friday because he was "not consistently candid" in his communications, the board said. OpenAI was founded as a non-profit organization, with a commercial arm intended to make it easier to raise money, and in practice the board is in charge.
Altmans' resignation sent shockwaves among OpenAI employees, investors and the tech community at large. It is very unusual for a founder and CEO of a very successful company to be pushed aside so easily. Moreover, Altman was loved by employees. Dozens of employees have now announced their departure. Like Altman, they will be able to return to work at Microsoft soon. Altman will head a new AI research lab there.
Microsoft has invested $13 billion in OpenAI and owns 49 percent of the shares in the commercial branch, but it has no seat on the board and therefore has limited influence. The fact that Microsoft was informed about Altman's dismissal only one minute before publication of the press release did not go down well either.
The question remains whether OpenAI can continue to play the leading role in the development of AI in the future, or whether this role will slowly be taken over by Microsoft. And while OpenAI's ChatGPT has already been added to Microsoft's search engine, Bing, AI will become a fully integrated part of Microsoft's solutions in the future.
It has now been announced that Altman will return to OpenAI as director. The board will be replaced by a new board in which Altman and Microsoft will have a seat.