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A Weekend of Pure Chaos at OpenAI: Firings, Failed Rehirings, Three CEOs, and Mass Protests

OpenAIOn Friday, OpenAI founder Sam Altman was fired from OpenAI, due to his “not being consistently candid” with the board.

I guess one could also say that Bernie Madoff was not being “consistently candid”.  What does that even mean?  Why not just say what you mean: lying.

What these lies were, no one has said.  But this has touched off a wild chain of events:

  • OpenAI also demoted co-founder Greg Brockman, causing him to quit.
  • OpenAI said that Twitch CEO Emmett Shear is joining as their new CEO.  Shear is a bright guy with a history of entrepreneurial success, but is not the wunderkind that Altman is.
  • This was after Mira Murati had been named as interim CEO.  For what, 12 hours?
  • Microsoft then hired Altmam and Brockman to join its own AI program.  Microsoft owns 49% of OpenAI.
  • But then OpenAI tried to hire Altman and Brockman back.  Seriously.  Same weekend.
  • But then Shear said no, Altman isn’t coming back.

And now 600 of OpenAI’s 750-ish employees have signed a letter saying they’ll walk unless Altman come back.  One of these signatories is chief scientist Ilya Sutskever…who was on the board that fired Altman.

This is like an unstable banana republic mixed with 6th grade drama.

Strangely, while it seems like Microsoft wins either way, they probably don’t want OpenAI to go down in flames.  They sunk $10bn into the project, and while nabbing Altman and Brockman brings some of the genius under their own tent, if OpenAI blows up, they’re possibly out a lot of money.  Or maybe that’s just sunk R&D cost from their persepctive.

Stay tuned!




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