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Sam Altman Returns As CEO of OpenAI



Dan O'Connor

In the space of a week, Altman has been fired by Open AI, hired by Microsoft and then rehired by Open AI.

In the space of a week, Altman has been fired by Open AI, hired by Microsoft and then rehired by Open AI.

As Affiliate Flash covered earlier this week, Altman was fired by the board as CEO of OpenAI because of what the board described as a lack of candor in Altman's communications with them.

Days later he was hired by Microsoft, one of OpenAI’s biggest investors, and a company that uses Open AI technologies in many of its products.

The decision triggered a strong response from other OpenAI employees, and around 667, a company majority, threatened to follow Altman to Microsoft if the entire OpenAI board did not resign.

Following a couple of days of intense negotiation by all parties involved, Altman has now been reinstated as the OpenAI CEO, just five days after the board had forced him out.

As part of the negotiations, the board that ousted him was dissolved and an interim board stepped in.

Affiliate Flash’s Take:

The dust has barely settled on one of the strangest weeks in the history of the tech industry, but OpenAI is already moving forward.

There was a two-day period where the company legitimately appeared to be on the brink of collapse, but some experts are arguing that it emerged from the internal conflict stronger.

Some more traditional replacements for the heavily criticized board are already being instated, with former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and a former executive from the software giant Salesforce being two of them.

Other board members could be plucked from Microsoft, OpenAI's biggest investor.

The narrative coming out of the tumultuous week seems to be that this is a two-sided coin for OpenAI. On one hand, the new board will likely be better equipped to deal with the billions of dollars being thrown its way since the success of ChatGPT, but some already argue that it will not be as attuned to OpenAI’s original mission to create A.I. that is safe for the world.

The OpenAI debacle has illustrated that building A.I. systems is testing whether businesspeople, driven by money, can work in sync with researchers who worry about developing a tool that may eventually eliminate jobs or become a threat if technologies like autonomous weapons grow out of control.

The tech industry will be watching to see if OpenAI is any closer to balancing those dueling aspirations than it was a week ago.

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