New Delhi/New York
Microsoft hired Sam Altman to supercharge its artificial intelligence innovation after the OpenAI co-founder was ousted as CEO in a chaotic coup on Friday. Meanwhile, the ChatGPT company will have its third CEO in three days.
It’s another major shift in the balance of power when it comes to artificial intelligence, the most important new technology in decades.
Greg Brockman, another co-founder of OpenAI, is also joining Microsoft (MSFT) – the startup’s largest backer. Brockmann stepped down as president of OpenAI following Altman’s firing.
Emmett Shear, the former CEO of Amazon’s Twitch streaming service, will join OpenAI as interim CEO. He replaces Mira Murati, who was named interim CEO following Altman’s firing. She will return to her role as chief technology officer of OpenAI.
“We look forward to meeting Microsoft CEO Emmett Shear Satya Nadella said in an article on X, formerly known as Twitter. “And we are extremely excited to announce that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, along with their colleagues, will join Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team.
With its investment of 13 billion dollars,Microsoft is the largest shareholder of OpenAI. Altman will be CEO of the “new group,” Nadella said in his message. Shares of Microsoft rose about 2% in premarket trading Monday.
Altman’s move to Microsoft ended a weekend of feverish speculation that OpenAI’s board could make a dramatic turnaround and rehire the high-flying Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor.
Altman spent Sunday at OpenAI headquarters, publication on a photo of him holding a green guest badge connected to a lanyard labeled “OpenAI.” He wrote: “First and last time I wear one. » Several media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, reported that the board that fired Altman had considered and engaged with him and Brockman to discuss their return.
With Monday’s announcement that Altman would be joining Microsoft, that speculation appears to have been put to rest — at least for now.
In an open letter Monday morning, hundreds of OpenAI employees called for the resignation of OpenAI’s board of directors, accusing it of mishandling Altman’s firing, and threatened to resign and join Microsoft with Altman.
Following the announcement of his move to Microsoft on Monday, Altman posted on X, saying: “we have more unity, commitment and focus than ever before.” we’re all going to work together in some way, and I’m so excited. one team, one mission.
He also praised OpenAI’s management team, including Murati. “(They) did an incredible job with this that will go down in the history books,” Altman said on X.
Later Monday, Altman said that for him and Nadella, “the top priority remains ensuring that (OpenAI) continues to thrive.” we are committed to fully ensuring the continuity of operations to our partners and customers.
In an article on X Monday morning, Shear described the chance to join OpenAI as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
“I accepted this position because I believe OpenAI is one of the most important companies in existence today. When the board shared the situation and asked me to take on this role, I did not take the decision lightly,” he added.
Shear had left his role as CEO of Twitchin March.In his article
“Ultimately, I felt I had a duty to help if I could,” Shear said.
But Shear also emphasized that he was taking over a company whose reputation was badly damaged after Altman’s botched firing and a whirlwind weekend in which it flirted with the return of its just-ousted CEO. Shear said the process had been “very poorly managed, which seriously damaged our confidence”.
He said the company would hire an independent investigator to report on what happened before Altman was fired. Shear did not elaborate on why Altman was forced out, but he said it was not related to concerns that Altman was leading the company in a dangerous direction or opposition to his efforts to earn money.
“The board *did not* remove Sam because of a specific disagreement over security, their reasoning was completely different from that,” Shear said. “I’m not crazy enough to take this position without the support of the board to bring our great designs to market. »
Based on the survey results and his discussions with other stakeholders, Shear said he would make “significant” changes to OpenAI over the coming month.
“The stability and success of OpenAI is too important to allow unrest to disrupt it in this way,” he said.
As CEO, he will have to work with Altman, Brockman and other former OpenAI employees who resigned and will move to Microsoft, which is the startup’s largest strategic partner. He will also have to work with Murati, who praised Altman upon his departure and who – like many OpenAI employees, including some who resigned in protest of his firing – posted on Monday that “OpenAI is nothing without its collaborators”.
Altman remained mostly tight-lipped about his firing and hiring over the weekend. Monday morning, in response to Nadella’s X message, he said“the mission continues. »
“I am very pleased to have you join as CEO of this new group, Sam, which is setting a new pace for innovation,” Nadella posted in response. “We’ve learned a lot over the years about how to give founders and innovators space to build independent identities and cultures within Microsoft, including GitHub, Mojang Studios, and LinkedIn, and I can’t wait for you to likewise.
The details of Altman’s firing remain unclear. In its announcement Friday, OpenAI claimed that Altman had not been sufficiently “candid” with the board,and this hindered the board’s ability to carry out its responsibilities.
This ambiguous language set the rumor mill flying. But Brockman gave vivid details firsthand in an article on X.
He said Altman found out he was being fired just minutes before the company made the news public. Brockman suggested that Altman was fired because of a disagreement with the company’s research division, led by another co-founder and chief scientist, Ilya Sutskever.
A key factor wastension between Altman, favorable to the development of AImore aggressively, and OpenAI board members, who wanted to act more cautiously, according to CNN contributor Kara Swisher, who spoke with sources knowledgeable about the crisis.
Altman had privately pushed the company to bring its products to market more quickly and sell them for a profit. Publicly, however, Altman has long warned of the risks posed by AI.
“Will (AI) be like the printing press that spread knowledge, power and learning widely across the landscape, that empowered ordinary, everyday individuals, that led to a greater development, which led above all togreater freedom? he said at a Senate subcommittee hearing in May calling for regulations. “Or will it be more like the atomic bomb…?” »
At the same time, Altman called on OpenAI to put its foot firmly on the gas pedal.
The leaders of the startupand iPhone designer Jony Ive has reportedly been in talks to raise $1 billion from Japan’s SoftBank for an AI device to replace the smartphone.And OpenAI had wona multibillion-dollar investment commitment from Microsoft in a partnership that includedrapid deployment of ChatGPT type technology within MicrosoftBing search engine and other products.
Most recently, Altman announced that OpenAI would make its tools widely available.available for everyone to create their own version of ChatGPT.
Microsoft was only informed of Altman’s firing “just before” the public announcement, Swisher said, and employees received no advance warning.
–Clare Duffy of CNN contributed to this report.
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