Sam Altman’s Dramatic Week at OpenAI: From Firing to Rehiring

Sam Altman 2

Sam Altman, the co-founder and CEO of OpenAI, the artificial intelligence research company behind the viral chatbot ChatGPT, was fired by the company’s board of directors on Friday, November 17, 2023. The stunning departure sent shockwaves through the budding AI industry.

The company, in a statement, said an internal investigation found that Altman was not always truthful with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities. The statement did not specify what Altman had allegedly lied about, but some sources suggested it was related to the company’s finances, vision, and culture.

Altman, who was also the former president of the startup accelerator Y Combinator, tweeted a brief message after the announcement, saying he loved his time at OpenAI and hoped to have more to say about his plans later.

Sam Altman 2

The fallout and the backlash

The firing of Altman triggered a wave of resignations and protests from OpenAI’s employees and supporters. Greg Brockman, the co-founder and president of OpenAI, quit the company and the board, saying he disagreed with the decision and could not continue to work there. He also posted a memo he sent to the OpenAI team, expressing his gratitude and admiration for Altman.

Three senior researchers at OpenAI also announced their departure, citing their loyalty to Altman and their dissatisfaction with the board’s actions. They were Ilya Sutskever, the chief scientist and co-founder of OpenAI, Wojciech Zaremba, the co-creator of ChatGPT, and Alec Radford, the lead researcher of the OpenAI Codex project.

Many other employees and fans of OpenAI took to social media to voice their support for Altman and their outrage at the board. They praised Altman’s vision, leadership, and contributions to the AI field, and criticized the board for being secretive, unfair, and short-sighted. Some even called for a boycott of OpenAI’s products and services, and urged other AI companies to hire Altman.

The surprising comeback

In a dramatic turn of events, OpenAI released a statement late Tuesday, November 21, 2023, saying it had reached an agreement in principle for Sam Altman to return to OpenAI as CEO. The proposed agreement included replacing all the directors who fired Altman, except for Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, who was the only board member to vote against Altman’s dismissal.

The statement said the board had reconsidered its decision after listening to the feedback from the OpenAI community and realizing the importance of Altman’s role in the company. It also apologized to Altman and the employees for the disruption and confusion caused by the firing.

Altman confirmed the news on Twitter, saying he was happy to be back at OpenAI and thanked everyone who supported him. He also said he was looking forward to working with the new board and the amazing team at OpenAI to create beneficial AI for humanity.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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