Artificial intelligence startup OpenAI announced Friday that it has fired its CEO and founder, Sam Altman. This surprising move came after an internal investigation by OpenAI’s board of directors found that Altman had not been completely honest and truthful in his communications with the board. This dishonesty affected the board’s ability to carry out its oversight responsibilities.
In light of the loss of faith in Altman’s leadership, the board made the decision to terminate his employment as CEO. OpenAI said in a statement that its deliberative board review process concluded that Altman was not consistently candid with board members. This hampered the board’s ability to perform its duties.
Altman responds and the company names interim CEO
Following the news of his dismissal, Altman posted a tweet saying that he “loved his time at OpenAI” and that it was personally transformative. He said he hoped that would change the world a little too. Altman said he would have more to say later about what’s next for him.
With Altman’s departure, OpenAI announced that its current CTO, Mira Murati, will take over as interim CEO. The company’s board of directors will begin searching for a permanent CEO to lead the AI startup going forward.
The first OpenAI conference last week
The surprising news comes on the heels of OpenAI’s inaugural developer conference held last week in San Francisco. Altman served as master of ceremonies for the event and revealed new AI capabilities and upgrades. He shared that OpenAI now has 2 million developers using its platform and that 90% of Fortune 500 companies use its tools internally.
ChatGPT fuels the rise of generative AI
OpenAI’s viral conversational chatbot, ChatGPT, launched late last year. There has been huge interest in generative AI that can create images and text that respond to user input. After the release of ChatGPT, it quickly became a household name synonymous with AI.
Impact on AI industry: unclear
It’s still unclear how Altman’s abrupt departure will affect the burgeoning AI industry. As CEO, Altman was a strong advocate for the responsible development of AI. His departure could signal a strategic shift for OpenAI away from strict self-regulation. Analysts say this could deal a blow to advocates calling for oversight of powerful artificial intelligence systems.
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