What happened: Sam Altman returned to lead OpenAI, the ChatGPT creator that has become the buzziest name in AI, after being unceremoniously dumped last week. The move came after Microsoft offered Altman a job, and nearly every employee threatened to quit.
Big picture: A three-member board replaced the one that initially fired Altman, including ex-Salesforce CEO Bret Taylor, Quora CEO Adam D'Angelo (the only member returning from the old board), and, surprisingly, former U.S. Secretary-Treasurer Larry Summers.
- The board will eventually expand to nine and will likely include Altman and OpenAI president Greg Brockman, who was also brought back after exiting last week.
Why it matters: Altman’s return signals that he is more powerful than ever at OpenAI and that the company will grow in the direction and at the speed he wants. While the exact reason for his firing is unknown, it’s widely accepted it stemmed from a clash of ideologies.
The old board represented OpenAI’s non-profit side and included “effective altruists” advocating for highly cautious AI development.
They reportedly disagreed with Altman over steps needed to reduce harm and some proposed commercial endeavours. Altman no longer has to listen to these concerns.
Bottom line: Altman isn’t an AI accelerationist who thinks that man should be replaced by machines, and he’s expressed the need for AI regulation. Still, he believes the pros of AI outweigh its cons, and some fear this optimism will come at the expense of safety.—QH