After five days of turmoil at the poster child of artificial intelligence, OpenAI has rehired CEO Sam Altman after unexpectedly – and inexplicably – firing him. All those people who have come to rely on ChatGPT for its advice can relax, the generative AI company will not implode – as it seemed likely to just a day ago.
The four-person board that fired him for not being “consistently candid” in communicating with it – whatever that means, and still hasn’t been revealed – has itself been ousted, bar Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo.
“We have reached an agreement in principle for Sam to return to OpenAI as CEO with a new initial board of Bret Taylor (Chair), Larry Summers, and Adam D’Angelo,” OpenAI tweeted. “We are collaborating to figure out the details. Thank you so much for your patience through this.”
Altman, who still doesn’t use capital letters, replied: “i love openai, and everything i’ve done over the past few days has been in service of keeping this team and its mission together”.
Not done with angering the grammatically obsessive sub-editors on tech publications the world over, he continued: “with the new board and w satya’s support, i’m looking forward to returning to openai, and building on our strong partnership with msft”.
Microsoft had seemingly scored the coup of the year, if not generation, by hiring Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman, who quit in protest. Nearly all of OpenAI’s 770 employees threatened to leave if Altman was not returned to the corner office where capitals can be ignored. Microsoft even offered to match the “compensation” of all of those Altman loyalists.
After sticking with their inexplicable (and still unexplained) decision on Sunday night, the prospect of the entire company walking out the door and going to Microsoft, this clueless board finally fell on their swords by Tuesday night.
Students and business people the world over will be relieved that they can still get ChatGPT to do their homework for them.