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posted by martyb on Sunday November 19 2023, @08:47AM   Printer-friendly
from the now-who's-the-boss? dept.

OpenAI President Greg Brockman quits as shocked employees hold all-hands meeting

On Friday afternoon, not long after news of CEO Sam Altman's abrupt and surprising departure from OpenAI began spreading online, the company held an all-hands meeting at its headquarters in San Francisco, reports The Information. During the meeting, interim CEO Mira Murati attempted to reassure the shocked employees that the search for a new CEO is underway.

Hours later, OpenAI co-founder and president Greg Brockman posted a statement on X, saying that after he learned today's news he sent a message to the OpenAI team: "based on todays news, i quit." Brockman, a key technical figure involved in many of the company's successes, was relieved of his OpenAI board membership on Friday, but the company initially announced he would be staying on.

Earlier on Friday, OpenAI released a blog post titled "OpenAI announces leadership transition" where it announced that Atlman "was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities." In a response post on X, Altman wrote, "I loved my time at openai," and hinted at future plans without revealing any details.

OpenAI co-founder and head of research Ilya Sutskever may have led the "coup". Other board members involved in the removal include Adam D'Angelo (Quora CEO), Tasha McCauley (RAND Corporation), and Helen Toner (Georgetown's Center for Security and Emerging Technology).

See also:

WTF is going on at OpenAI? We have theories
Why Was Sam Altman Fired As CEO of OpenAI?
Everything We Know About OpenAI's Shocking Ouster of Sam Altman

On the other hand . . .

OpenAI board attempts to hit "Ctrl-Z" in talks with Altman to return as CEO

Just over a day since his surprise firing that sent shock waves through the tech industry, the OpenAI board is reportedly engaging in discussions with Sam Altman to potentially return as CEO of the company, according to The Verge, citing people familiar with the matter. The outlet says that Altman is "ambivalent" about returning and would want significant changes to how the company is run.

The move would be a dramatic about-face for the board, which has faced intense scrutiny from all corners of the tech world for abruptly and surprisingly firing one of the tech industry's most high-profile CEOs. Altman was popular with both Microsoft leadership and OpenAI staff, and his firing came as a shock to employees, who reportedly pushed back against OpenAI Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever's handling of the move during an all-hands meeting on Friday. The overtures toward Altman suggest that the board may have been surprised by the sizable reaction from the world at large.

[...] If Altman were to return to OpenAI, we do not yet know what that would mean for Sutskever's position at the company, or if others like Brockman and the three senior OpenAI researchers who also resigned would return with Altman as well.

"The best case for the board is that Sam and Greg come back, the 4 board members resign, and lay low for a long while," speculated venture capitalist Will Hubbard on X. "The worst case for the board is that Sam and Greg start another company, take all OpenAI's talent and future funding, and have a lawsuit brought against them." No plans for a lawsuit have been announced.


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  • (Score: 2, Troll) by crafoo on Sunday November 19 2023, @03:06PM (6 children)

    by crafoo (6639) on Sunday November 19 2023, @03:06PM (#1333504)

    with the RAND corp and Georgetown Uni involved you know that there is some serious crime and foreign influence peddling involved. not surprising given openai's dominant position in this new industry. the knives are out. real power politics are underway.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2023, @06:22PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19 2023, @06:22PM (#1333521)

    Those people are part of the LessWrong cult too. Really makes you think.

    https://www.reddit.com/r/ChatGPT/comments/17xwn4l/comment/k9q61bf/ [reddit.com]

  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday November 20 2023, @02:04PM (4 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 20 2023, @02:04PM (#1333604) Journal
    And Microsoft. Given that the outster was done without Microsoft's knowledge (they allegedly were given a one minute [axios.com] warning) and Microsoft hired Sam Altman right after an effort to reinsert him failed, I think there's a more mundane explanation than peddling. A Microsoft effort to acquire OpenAI likely has been forestalled.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by liar on Monday November 20 2023, @04:02PM (3 children)

      by liar (17039) on Monday November 20 2023, @04:02PM (#1333617)

      Microsoft just acquired the hottest AI duo in Silicon Valley, Altman and Brockman, while also maintaining its OpenAI partnership. The future of OpenAI seems uncertain, and its efforts to develop artificial general intelligence could be in jeopardy. But everything is moving fast. https://gizmodo.com/microsoft-hires-sam-altman-openai-staff-threaten-quit-1851035418 [gizmodo.com] Early on Monday morning, Microsoft hired Sam Altman to lead a new advanced AI research team after he was ousted from his position at OpenAI last week. Within hours, OpenAI employees threatened to resign en masse with more than 500 out of 750 employees signing a letter demanding that the board resign and Altman be reinstated as CEO. Shockingly, one of the signatories of the open letter was board member Ilya Sutskever who led the ousting of Sam Altman. “I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions,” said Sutskever on Monday, going on to say he never intended to harm OpenAI. “I love everything we’ve built together and I will do everything I can to reunite the company.” The remaining board members include non-employees Adam D’Angelo, Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner.

      OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman will join Altman at the new Microsoft AI venture. The ousting of Sam Altman seems to have completely backfired. On Sunday night, OpenAI’s board hired Emmett Shear, co-founder and former CEO of Twitch, as the new CEO.

      --
      Noli nothis permittere te terere.
      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday November 20 2023, @05:05PM (2 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 20 2023, @05:05PM (#1333627) Journal

        Microsoft just acquired the hottest AI duo in Silicon Valley, Altman and Brockman, while also maintaining its OpenAI partnership.

        Sounds like it's just formalizing what it had before this hubbub started.

        The future of OpenAI seems uncertain, and its efforts to develop artificial general intelligence could be in jeopardy.

        Same is true of Microsoft's stake in all this.

        Within hours, OpenAI employees threatened to resign en masse with more than 500 out of 750 employees signing a letter demanding that the board resign and Altman be reinstated as CEO. Shockingly, one of the signatories of the open letter was board member Ilya Sutskever who led the ousting of Sam Altman. “I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions,” said Sutskever on Monday, going on to say he never intended to harm OpenAI. “I love everything we’ve built together and I will do everything I can to reunite the company.” The remaining board members include non-employees Adam D’Angelo, Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner.

        Sounds like a mess. It'll be interesting to see if a case for the outster is presented. If the problem is still there and nonnegotiable, then OpenAI may just have to accept the loss of staff.

        • (Score: 2) by looorg on Monday November 20 2023, @05:31PM (1 child)

          by looorg (578) on Monday November 20 2023, @05:31PM (#1333632)

          Considering that Microsoft appears to be one of the largest investors in OpenAI I'm surprise they just don't acquire them at this point. Or what is left. Or perhaps that is the plan. Take the senior staff (done!), and some of those 500 people that now demand to quit, or at least on paper. Since Altman is clearly not coming back then if he and Brockman signed with Microsoft to head up some new fantastic AI research division that MS just created out of the blue to cater to them. They'll need staff, good thing then there are about 500 people available that know what to do. The remaining husk will then be purchased for knowledge, pattern etc and the entire 100 million dollar investment MS is written off as a lost investment.