On November 6th, 2023, we witnessed the first-ever OpenAI’s first Developer Conference. The event, called OpenAI Dev Day, introduced us to several updates regarding one of the most popular AI-based platforms in the world. Not only did we see an upgrade regarding both GPT3.5 and GPT4 (and GPT4 Turbo), but we also saw the launch of customizable GPTs. The worldwide leading company seemed to have a clear path to look forward to the future.
Yet, just eleven days after, Friday, Nov 17th, news arrived about Sam Altman no longer being the CEO of OpenAI. While most media stated that he was terminated, some outlets explicitly said he was stepping down. Does the word change mean anything for the future of OpenAI? Furthermore, what is the future of OpenAI after this announcement?
Sam Altman exits as CEO of OpenAI
The first thing to note here is that OpenAI's statement emphasizes that the company's board "lost confidence in his ability to continue leading the company." As you surely know, OpenAI is behind ChatGPT, so the review finding that Altman was not "consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities" shocked the Artificial Intelligence (AI) community.
The company announced that its CTO, Mira Murati, will be taking the internal role of CEO while OpenAI defines its permanent successor. The announcement, "OpenAI announces leadership transition," starts by highlighting Mira's role in the company's rise, calling him a "critical role in OpenAI’s evolution into a global AI leader." Likewise, it ensures she's "uniquely qualified" and states she has the board's support to ensure a seamless transition.
Yet, the most shocking revelation comes later, as the article hints at the reason that led to Altman's departure. While the reports state their gratefulness for Sam Altman's contributions to the founding and growing of OpenAI, the short paragraph in which the leaders say their reasoning has huge implications: the reason relates to the lack of "confidence in his [Altman] ability to continue leading OpenAI."
Moreover, according to CNBC, OpenAI’s president, Greg Brockman, will also be stepping down as a chairman. Yet, he will keep working at the company, reporting to the CEO. Does that mean a break within the ideas that fuel the foundation of OpenAI and its current leaders' vision?
Another key to (trying to) understand this scenario is that, after stating lack of trust as a reason for departure, the company says that it's committed to its mission, which is to "ensure that Artificial General Intelligence benefits all humanity." Would that hint that OpenAI and Altman's goals perhaps drifted away? Only time will tell, but it's worth asking the question.
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