Ousted CEO of OpenAI, Sam Altman, in talks with the company’s board to make a comeback

A remarkable reversal is happening as OpenAI’s board, the firm responsible for AI chatbot ChatGPT, are engaging in discussions with dismissed CEO Sam Altman to come back.
ADVERTISEMENTSources indicate that Sam Altman, the CEO recently ousted from OpenAI, is exploring the possibility of returning to the company behind ChatGPT even as he ponders launching a new artificial intelligence (AI) startup. This information was shared by a person briefed on the matter on Saturday. Just one day after his surprising termination sent shockwaves through the tech industry, Altman was in talks with OpenAI executives about enhancing the company’s governance structure. Moreover, he is also discussing with certain key OpenAI researchers and individuals loyal to him the potential establishment of a new AI company, as per the same source. The situation regarding Altman’s potential return or the formation of a new endeavor is fluid, stated the source, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on behalf of the parties involved. Both OpenAI and Altman have not responded to Reuters’ requests for comments. OpenAI’s major backer Microsoft, along with other investors and employees who control 49 per cent of the company, is reportedly considering damage control measures. This includes the possibility of urging the board to reinstate Altman as CEO due to concerns about a talent exodus in his absence, according to other sources. Meanwhile, Kholsa Ventures, an early supporter of OpenAI, expressed a desire to see Altman back at OpenAI but also stated that they “will support him in his next pursuit,” as conveyed by the fund’s founder Vinod Khosla on X on Saturday. Microsoft declined to provide a comment. The company is said to own 49 per cent of OpenAI.Emotional Impact of ChatGPT The emotions of current and former employees ran high on Saturday following Altman’s dismissal, with concerns arising over the potential impact on an upcoming $86 billion (€78.7 billion) share sale due to the sudden management upheaval. OpenAI, a non-profit co-founded by billionaire Elon Musk, introduced ChatGPT on November 30last year, sparking a global frenzy surrounding generative AI technology, which swiftly emerged as the world’s fastest-growing software application. This led to an influx of investments and announcements across various industries intending to leverage AI in fields such as financial services, healthcare, entertainment, and media.Tapped into extensive data, generative AI has the capability to generate human-like content, aiding users in tasks such as crafting term papers, completing scientific assignments, and even composing entire novels. Following the launch of ChatGPT, regulators rushed to catch up: the European Union revised its AI Act and the US initiated efforts to regulate AI.By Saturday, some employees, still reeling from the shock, were contemplating resigning if Altman was not reinstated by the end of the weekend, as per one insider. Others expressed their support for joining Altman in establishing a new company, according to another individual familiar with the matter. It is anticipated that Greg Brockman, former President of OpenAI who reportedly resigned from the company due to Altman’s termination on Friday, will participate in any prospective initiative. This information was conveyed by The Information, which previously reported on the potential new venture, citing an informed source.’Disrupted Communication’ Brockman did not provide an immediate response for a request for comment, and OpenAI also refrained from responding. Some researchers at OpenAI, including Szymon Sidor, have left the company in the wake of the CEO change, although it is uncertain whether Sidor and others will align with a new venture led by Altman, according to two individuals familiar with the matter. Sidor has confirmed his departure. It was previously reported by The Information in September that Altman and Jony Ive, Apple’s former design chief, were deliberating on creating a new AI hardware device. The report indicated that SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son had played a role in these discussions.ADVERTISEMENTAltman’s removal stemmed from a “disrupted communication,” not “wrongdoing,” stated Chief Operating Officer Brad Lightcap in an internal company memo on Saturday, as viewed by Reuters. Tech publication The Verge previously reported on the OpenAI board’s discussions with Altman regarding his potential return as CEO. Forbes, on the other hand, disclosed that investors were devising plans to reinstate Altman as CEO on Saturday.

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