Artificial Intelligence (AI)

OpenAI Ousts CEO Sam Altman

Sam Altman, who as CEO of OpenAI gave the world ChatGPT and became one of the most influential people in technology, has departed the company after losing the confidence of its board.

A company statement says that a review “concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.” Mira Murati, previously OpenAI’s CTO was appointed interim CEO while OpenAI searches for a full-time replacement, the statement says.

Altman did not respond to a request for comment. OpenAI declined to comment.

Greg Brockman, who cofounded OpenAI with Altman alongside leading names in AI and technology including Elon Musk, will also step down from his role as chair of the company’s board, the company statement says. No reason was given for Brockman’s change in position.

The surprising capabilities of ChatGPT such as solving complex puzzles and handling questions that appear to require human-like reasoning stunned AI researchers, amazed the public, and triggered an arms race among big tech companies to build more powerful AI. The bot’s success turned Altman into a tech celebrity, consulted by world leaders on the future path of AI technology.

Altman appeared yesterday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco , telling hundreds of business and government leaders that AI systems could solve humanity’s most-pressing problems if their development were pursued responsibly.

“We’re on a path to self destruction as a species right now,” he said, sitting alongside executives from Meta and Google. “We need new technology if we want to flourish for tens, hundreds of thousands, and millions of years more.”

Altman acknowledged success wasn’t certain but expressed confidence AI would ultimately be beneficial, describing the technology as his life’s work, from childhood. “This will be the most transformative and beneficial technology humanity has yet invented,” he said.

OpenAI was founded in 2015 as a nonprofit focused on safely developing AI more intelligent than humans. It was funded by Musk and others including Peter Thiel, and LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman.

OpenAI became a for profit company in 2019, as the cost of building and training advanced AI became challenging. It struck a partnership with Microsoft in 2019 that saw the software giant invest a billion dollars and provide cloud computing power for training OpenAI’s algorithms. This year Microsoft agreed to invest a further $10 billion into OpenAI.

OpenAI developed a number of cutting edge AI projects in the years after its creation, but the introduction of ChatGPT in November 2022, quickly turned the company into one of the most important businesses on earth.

Additional reporting by Paresh Dave.

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