A.I. News OpenAI fires CEO Sam Altman, citing less than “candid” communications

upnorth

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OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT and DALL-E, announced Friday that co-founder and CEO Sam Altman will be departing the company and vacating his seat on the board. CTO Mira Murati has been appointed interim CEO effective immediately, according to a blog post from the board of directors.

"Mr. Altman’s departure follows a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities," the blog reads, in part. "The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI." "We are grateful for Sam’s many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI," the board writes in a prepared statement. "At the same time, we believe new leadership is necessary as we move forward."

OpenAI also announced that Chairman of the Board Greg Brockman will be stepping down from that role but staying with the company.
 

vtqhtr413

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Update - 11/18/2023 12 AM Eastern:

According to reporting from Kara Swisher and The Information, it's looking like the ouster of Altman stemmed from an internal disagreement over the direction of the company with regard to a focus on profits over safety, with Chief Scientist Illya Sutskever apparently behind the board maneuvering. Altman's firing came as a complete surprise to Altman and Brockman, who were kept in the dark about the decision until Friday afternoon.
At 8:42 PM Pacific, Greg Brockman released a joint statement from himself and Sam Altman on X.
Sam and I are shocked and saddened by what the board did today.
Let us first say thank you to all the incredible people who we have worked with at OpenAI, our customers, our investors, and all of those who have been reaching out.
We too are still trying to figure out exactly what happened. Here is what we know:
- Last night, Sam got a text from Ilya asking to talk at noon Friday. Sam joined a Google Meet and the whole board, except Greg, was there. Ilya told Sam he was being fired and that the news was going out very soon.
- At 12:19pm, Greg got a text from Ilya asking for a quick call. At 12:23pm, Ilya sent a Google Meet link. Greg was told that he was being removed from the board (but was vital to the company and would retain his role) and that Sam had been fired. Around the same time, OpenAI published a blog post.
- As far as we know, the management team was made aware of this shortly after, other than Mira who found out the night prior.
The outpouring of support has been really nice; thank you, but please don’t spend any time being concerned. We will be fine. Greater things coming soon.
At 9:05 PM Pacific, Sam Altman posted his second statement on X today:
i love you all. today was a weird experience in many ways. but one unexpected one is that it has been sorta like reading your own eulogy while you’re still alive. the outpouring of love is awesome. one takeaway: go tell your friends how great you think they are.
 

upnorth

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The ex-boss of leading artificial intelligence firm OpenAI has posted a photo of himself at its HQ, following reports he is set to return after being sacked on Friday.

Writing on X, formerly Twitter, Sam Altman is pictured holding a guest ID pass and comments: "First and last time i ever wear one of these". The 38-year-old helped launch the firm which created the popular ChatGPT bot. On Friday the board dismissed Mr Altman saying it had lost confidence in him. Reports this weekend, however, have suggested investors and employees are pushing for Mr Altman to be reinstated.
Reports this weekend suggested his sacking had angered current and former employees who were worried it might affect an upcoming $86bn (£69bn; €79bn) share sale. The firm's venture capitalist backers and the tech giant Microsoft - which has a $10bn stake in OpenAI - have also called for his return, according to the FT. Sources say there have been a couple of sleepless nights in Seattle, the headquarters of Microsoft, which has also integrated OpenAI's technology into its applications.
 

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Microsoft is hiring former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman.

Altman was fired from OpenAI on Friday after the board said it “no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.” After a weekend of negotiations to potentially bring Altman back to OpenAI, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that both Altman and Brockman will be joining to lead Microsoft’s new advanced AI research team. Altman will have the CEO title of this new group.

“We’re extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team,” says Nadella. “We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success.”

Related news
 
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upnorth

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OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman will return as boss just days after he was fired by the board, the firm has said.

The agreement "in principle" involves a new board members being appointed, the tech company added. It comes after Mr Altman was sacked on Friday triggering an open letter from staff who threatened to resign unless he was reinstated. "I am looking forward to returning to OpenAI," Mr Altman said in a post on X, formerly Twitter. He added: "I love OpenAI, and everything I've done over the past few days has been in service of keeping this team and its mission together.
 

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Also , on X (Twitter) → https://twitter.com/sama/status/1727207458324848883?s=20

Strong cooperation with Microsoft ...

"I love openai, and everything i’ve done over the past few days has been in service of keeping this team and its mission together. when i decided to join msft on sun evening, it was clear that was the best path for me and the team. with the new board and w satya’s support, i’m looking forward to returning to openai, and building on our strong partnership with msft."
 
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vtqhtr413

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The conventional wisdom now holds that OpenAI’s nonprofit board overplayed its hand, communicated its decision and motives terribly, and disqualified itself from governing the most important company of its generation. And I basically agree with all that, as I wrote here last week. Whatever reasons the board may have had for declining to outline with any specificity why they fired the CEO who had led their organization to great success, in the end their silence doomed them.

And yet: for everything they failed at, the board does appear to have succeeded in putting a new governance structure into place. Altman and Brockman are no longer on the boar.; Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, who voted to fire Altman, remains as well, and will help to fill out the rest of its membership. Bret Taylor, the former Twitter board chair, and Larry Summers, the former US Treasury secretary, will join D’Angelo on the board; together, they will appoint up to six new members. In addition, the new board will commission an independent investigation into the events surrounding Altman’s firing.
 

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Interview: Sam Altman on being fired and rehired by OpenAI​

“It took me a few minutes to snap out of it and get over the ego and emotions to then be like, ‘Yeah, of course I want to do that,’” he told me by phone on Wednesday. “Obviously, I really loved the company and had poured my life force into this for the last four and a half years full time, but really longer than that with most of my time. And we’re making such great progress on the mission that I care so much about, the mission of safe and beneficial AGI.”

After an attempted boardroom coup that lasted five days, Altman officially returned as CEO of OpenAI on Wednesday. The company’s biggest investor, Microsoft, is planning to take a nonvoting board seat as well.

During our interview, Altman repeatedly declined to answer the main question on everyone’s minds: exactly why he was fired to begin with. OpenAI’s new board, led by Bret Taylor, is going to conduct an independent investigation into what went down. “I very much welcome that,” Altman told me. Below is my full interview with OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and CTO Mira Murati, lightly edited for clarity:

Sam, I would like to address, first, the elephant in the room, which is that we still don’t know exactly why you were fired to begin with. Why do you think you were fired?
 

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