Altman’s dramatic departure sparked intense pressure from OpenAI’s biggest investors, including tech giant Microsoft, for him to return.
OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT, has announced that Sam Altman will once again be its CEO, days after his surprising dismissal plunged the pioneering artificial intelligence firm into a crisis. Altman’s dramatic departure sparked intense pressure from OpenAI’s biggest investors, including tech giant Microsoft, for him to return. Hundreds of OpenAI employees had threatened to leave the company in a letter released to the media, demanding the resignation of the board of directors as speculation about the company’s future mounted.
OpenAI announced on social media that it had reached an “agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return to OpenAI as CEO, with a new initial board consisting of Bret Taylor (chairman), Larry Summers and Adam D’Angelo.”
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had announced this week that he would hire Altman to lead an AI research team. Altman indicated Tuesday that his return had Nadella’s backing. Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in OpenAI, incorporating its technology into several products, including its ‘Bing’ search engine. Its data centers have been crucial to the development of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the success of which sparked a multibillion-dollar global race in artificial intelligence research and development.
Nadella had noted that “governance changes” were necessary at OpenAI to avoid such ‘disruptive’ surprises. “We believe it is an essential first step on the path towards more stable, well-informed and effective governance,” she said.
The latest announcement appeared to end the rollercoaster of events created by Altman’s firing last week. OpenAI’s board, which included respected AI researcher and company co-founder Ilya Sutskever, on Sunday stood by its decision to fire Altman and appointed Emmett Shear as interim CEO.
However, the move did little to quell outrage within the company or unrest among OpenAI investors. Sutskever was one of the signatories of the OpenAI employees’ letter demanding the board’s dismissal.
Generative AI platforms like ChatGPT are trained with large amounts of data to be able to answer even complex questions in human-like language. They are also used to generate and manipulate images. This technology has sparked warnings about the dangers of misuse, from blackmailing people with false images and information, to image manipulation and harmful misinformation.