The ChatGPT AI-based language model is considered the most significant technological event since the creation of the Internet.
The company that developed the revolutionary chatbot is OpenAI, whose founder Sam Altman was surprisingly fired from the board of directors on November 17.
It threw the company into chaos, replacing three CEOs in three days and its employees calling on the board to resign, or nearly all of the company’s 700 or so employees threatening to walk out.
And to make it even more interesting Sam Altman and former OpenAI president Greg Brockman found each other new job at Microsoft (note one of the key investors in OpenAI). The tech giant says it also has spots for employees who threaten to follow OpenAI’s founder.
Who is Sam Altman and why did his firing create chaos in Silicon Valley?
Sam Altman is one of the co-founders of the startup OpenAI. The company was established in 2015, and among the investors are also Elon Musk and Peter Thiel (co-founders of Paypal).
They subsequently withdrew, and tech billionaire Musk’s company xAI announced its own Grok AI-based model.
Amid his calls for not rushing to advance artificial intelligence before ensuring its safety, Musk launched an alternative chatbot that pulls data from social platform X in real time.
Himself Sam Altman has not spared his warnings about the possible dangers of the development of artificial intelligence.
In May 2023, he appeared at a US Senate hearing calling for regulations.
The firing of Sam Altman as CEO of the company OpenAI surprised the tech world and threw the company that developed the language model based on artificial intelligence ChatGPT into chaos.
Why was Sam Altman fired from his own company?
The reasons for his dismissal never became clear. According to the official statement of the board of directors – they no longer “have confidence in his ability to continue to lead OpenAI”.
“Altman has not been completely forthright in his communication with the board, which hinders his ability to fulfill his responsibilities,” the company said in an official statement.
There was speculation that the reason for Altam’s dismissal was a scandal between chief engineer Ilya Sutskever, on the one hand, and Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, on the other.
The two sides parted ways over a disagreement over the company’s future – Altman wanted it to run for commercial profit and grow faster and faster, which was deemed too risky. The group around Sutskever has pushed to keep OpenAI’s earlier profile as a non-profit focused on safety and more careful product development.
Amid warnings that the rapid development of artificial intelligence poses risks to the safety of humanity as a whole, Altman is said to have spoken with former Apple design chief Jony Ive about building a new hardware device based on artificial intelligence. There is also speculation that Altman is trying to raise funds for a new company to make chips that run powerful AI systems.
The most recent appointment as interim CEO, Emmett Shear, denied that Altman’s firing was due to any disagreement over the safety of the technology, but in any case did not provide a clear explanation of the reasons that led to the board of directors’ decision to oust the company’s founder.
700 OpenAI employees are ready to leave if the board does not resign
After a weekend filled with chaotic actions at the company and the replacement of two interim CEOs (Mira Muratti and Emmett Shear0, a letter came from 700 OpenAI employees calling for the company’s board to resign.
According to them, by firing Altman, they have proved that they cannot run the company and in turn have warned that they are ready to leave.
Even Ilya Sutskeverone of the main drivers of the ChatGPT language model, who is a board member under fire and cited as one of the reasons for Altman’s dismissal, admitted on the social network “X” that he made a mistake.
“Now I deeply regret my involvement in the board’s actions. I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we’ve built together and will do everything I can to bring the company back together,” Sutskever wrote.
Altman is not just the company’s CEO, he is the figure behind the revolution in artificial intelligence that has fascinated the public and investors, but also alarmed industry experts, notes the British “Guardian”.
Besides ChatGPT, OpenAI is the company that developed Dall-E. An AI-based tool that creates images from text prompts.
Before the events of recent days, OpenAI was in talks to complete a fundraising deal that would have valued the business at $80 billion.
And the company’s 38-year-old CEO has been synonymous with the success of ChatGPT, which attracted 100 million users in the two months since it went public on November 30, 2022.
What does all this mean for OpenAI, and will it slow down the hype surrounding artificial intelligence?
The British “Guardian” notes that the funds needed to acquire OpenAI will not be a problem for Microsoft, even at the controversial valuation of 80 billion dollars. However, the publication recalls that antitrust authorities in the US and the EU will scrutinize the consolidation of the contagion market of generative AI.
Microsoft has just completed the acquisition of the video game company behind Call of Duty studio Activision Blizzard. The deal had a tough time getting through regulators, and a potential deal would be even tougher. Microsoft currently has a 49% stake in OpenAI. And as it turned out, it is ready to accommodate the OpenAI employees who decide to follow Altman.
So, if Altman doesn’t return to OpenAI, then it looks like work on advanced AI will continue directly under Microsoft’s umbrella.
Some time ago, Altman announced that he would work on building general artificial intelligence. It is an AI-based system that can perform various tasks at or even above the human level of intelligence.
In an interview this month, he said: “The vision is to make general artificial intelligence, figure out how to make it safe … and figure out the benefits.”
What is the difference between generative and general artificial intelligence?
OpenAI’s revolutionary ChatGPT language model, and its competitors Google’s Bard and Musk’s new Grok, are based on generative artificial intelligence.
They can generate language messages on demand and strikingly mimic human speech, even holding a dialogue.
Although often criticized for making mistakes, but their texts sound convincing, these models are being refined and are already showing that they will change the world for individual professions.
So, for example, programmers can get a ready-made base code in seconds, and then work on it and improve it.
And if the capabilities of generative intelligence are impressive, then General Artificial Intelligence is something significantly more powerful. In theory, it will be able to solve complex tasks and will be at the level and even above the level of human intelligence.
Something that a number of scientists warn could turn out to be the most dangerous endeavor in human civilization.
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A major shakeup at the OpenAI giant: Director Sam Altman has been fired surprisingly