OpenAI made a splash over the weekend. The maker of ChatGPT and DALL-E 3 ousted CEO Sam Altman on Friday, marking the beginning of a weekend of shenanigans that led to three CEOs in three days, as well as what some say is Microsoft’s undermining of OpenAI. Calling it an under-the-table acquisition.
A lot happened in just a few days at the tech world’s hottest commodity, and depending on how everything plays out, it could have a big impact on the future of products like ChatGPT. We’re here to explain how OpenAI got here, what it stands for now, and where the company can go from here.
Now that the former CEO of OpenAI is at Microsoft – along with many former OpenAI employees – we may see products like ChatGPT disappear from the headlines. These models won’t go away, but with big changes over the weekend, they may take on a different form.
Altman is out
It all started when there was Sam Altman The decision to remove OpenAI CEO came from OpenAI’s board, which consists of six members until June 2023. Two of those members were Altman and Greg Brockman, former president and co-founder of OpenAI. who left After removing Altman.
Rightly or wrongly, the blame has been placed on Ilya Sutskever, who, in the absence of Altman and Brockman, is the only OpenAI employee still on the board. Sutskever also broke the news to employees that Altman would not be returning as CEO, which reportedly led to the resignation of dozens of employees (or more) – more on this soon.
Coming up on the Friday before the holiday, it looked like OpenAI was a tough challenge that would eventually be overcome. The company announced that OpenAI Chief Technology Officer Mira Muratti will serve as interim CEO. And OpenAI’s biggest supporter, Microsoft, confirmed its support. CEO Satya Nadella said ,[we] Remain committed to our partnership and to Mira and the team.” To this point, Microsoft has invested $13 billion in OpenAI.
However, this setup did not last long, as Muratti was removed from his position as interim CEO within a matter of hours. It is not clear whether Murati quit or was removed from office. However, Bloomberg reports that Murati had plans to reinstate Altman and Brockman.
On Friday morning, Sam Altman was the CEO of OpenAI. By Friday afternoon, it was Mira Murati. On Monday morning, former Twitch CEO Emmett Shearer announced that he would be taking over as interim CEO at OpenAI.
Shear provided some insight into what happened at OpenAI when it was announced he would be filling the position. The executive announced he would be taking up the position on Monday, which shows how quickly things are moving at OpenAI. Shear says Altman was not fired because of “any specific disagreement over security.” Shire created a three-point plan for the company as CEO that included hiring an independent investigator to find out why Altman and Brockman were fired, talking to employees and partners, and improving the management and leadership teams. .
Shire said he would make significant changes based on the outcome of this investigation – “including pressing hard for significant governance changes if necessary.”
According to a report by Information, trouble was brewing within OpenAI as CEO talks were ongoing. Muratti was reportedly in talks to reinstate Altman and Brockman, and by the time Shearer came on board as interim CEO, “dozens” of employees had resigned from the company. According to the report, these employees were highly attractive to Google and Microsoft for their AI initiatives.
These departures took place over the weekend. On Monday morning, journalist Kara Swisher posted a letter from OpenAI employees to the board calling for their resignation. Swisher reports that 505 of OpenAI’s 700 employees signed the letter calling for resignation.
The letter also provides some interesting information about another development that happened on Monday. It reads: “We, the undersigned, may choose to resign from OpenAI and join the newly announced Microsoft subsidiary run by Sam Altman and Greg Brockman. “Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees in this new subsidiary if we choose to join.”
That’s right – Altman and Brockman are now part of Microsoft, OpenAI’s largest investor. The partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI is important, even though Microsoft does not have a seat on OpenAI’s board. With employees threatening to leave OpenAI for jobs waiting at Microsoft, this puts ChatGPT’s parent company in a difficult position.
Altman and Brockman are now employees of Microsoft, and Microsoft says Altman holds the position of CEO within the company. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the pair joining Microsoft on Monday, saying they will “collaborate with colleagues” to lead a new AI research team.
Microsoft’s interest in OpenAI has been evident for years now. The company has reportedly invested $13 billion in OpenAI so far, with a whopping $10 billion coming as early as 2023. However, recent reports state that Microsoft did not actually commit $10 billion to OpenAI. Instead, a large portion of the investment came in the form of cloud computing purchases, presumably to run OpenAI’s models on Microsoft’s giant cloud.
In addition to Altman and Brockman, Brockman says the initial leadership team for this new AI subsidiary of Microsoft includes Alexander Madry, Jakub Pachocki, and Szymon Sidor – all former OpenAI employees. And, as you can read in the letter in the section above, most OpenAI employees have jobs waiting in the wings at Microsoft.
This creates an awkward situation for Microsoft and OpenAI. If employees left Microsoft and joined Altman, Microsoft was essentially able to acquire OpenAI without spending a cent.
We are still in the midst of turmoil in OpenAI. The fallout from Altman’s firing may take several months to fully come into focus, but regardless, the executive change is clearly having a big impact on products built by OpenAI, such as ChatGPT.
OpenAI closes sign-ups ChatGPT Plus opened last week due to demand, and has not been opened since. Now that the leadership is gone from OpenAI and much of the company is threatening to flee to Microsoft, it’s unclear whether OpenAI has much time left. If the AI ship sinks, ChatGPT and DALL-E 3, at least in their current form, may go with it.
These AI advancements will not disappear, but may be wrapped into different products. For example, Microsoft’s Copilot already uses the GPT-4 model for text generation and DALL-E 3 for image generation. Again, these models are not going away, but if OpenAI really fails, they may have a different name in the future.