OpenAI, the developer of ChatGPT, which is used by 100 million people around the world every day, is on the verge of collapse. Due to the dismissal of CEO Sam Altman, who was called the ‘father of ChatGPT’, on the 20th (local time), more than 700 of the company’s 770 executives and employees said, “If the entire board of directors is not fired and Altman is not reinstated, the company will be terminated.” “I will leave and move to MS,” he announced. Chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, who was identified as the person leading this incident, also said, “I regret participating in the decision to fire Altman.” Investors who invested trillions of won are also demanding Altman’s return and board of directors, citing filing a lawsuit or recovering their investment.
Instead, Microsoft (MS) became the biggest beneficiary by embracing Altman, who had been pushed out of Open AI. Although Microsoft owned a 49% stake in OpenAI, it did not have a single board seat, but turned this crisis into an opportunity. Some say that the current chaos is a stepping stone for Microsoft CEO Satya Nardelli and Altman to change the board of directors and for Altman to return to Open AI.
The reason why 702 Open AI executives and employees sent an open letter to the board of directors under their names was because they believed that the company had no future without Altman, considering his symbolism as the ‘face of AI’, his ability to attract investment, and his management acumen. Because. CEO Nardelli also said that Microsoft would accept them.
The executives’ letter said, “You (the board of directors) notified management that allowing the company to fail is ‘consistent with Open AI’s mission.'” Open AI, a non-profit corporation, has presented ‘safe AI that benefits all of humanity’ as its mission. This part suggests that there was a difference of opinion between the ‘AI development group’ led by Altman and the ‘speed control group’ led by Sützkever. “Altman’s dismissal is not an AI safety issue,” and employees’ agitation does not go away despite the new CEO’s evolution.
Profitability issues are also directly related to employee dissatisfaction. Although it claims to be a non-profit corporation, many of its employees are attracted by profits from stock sales and multi-million dollar salaries. Investors are also angry that a company with a corporate value of $86 billion (110 trillion won) made arbitrary decisions without consulting shareholders. Some are reportedly preparing to suspend investment or file lawsuits. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) commented, “This is at the level of a kamikaze bombing aimed at the board of directors.”
Microsoft, the largest shareholder of Open AI, announced that it would absorb Altman and a large number of Open AI personnel, solidifying its image as a powerhouse in the AI industry. CEO Nardelli said in a Bloomberg TV interview that day, “We will form a cutting-edge AI team.” However, he also mentioned, “No matter where Altman is, cooperation with Microsoft will be maintained,” leaving room for the possibility of his return. When asked, ‘Who will be the CEO of Open AI tomorrow?’ he answered, “It depends on Open AI and the board of directors.”
There is analysis that Altman also did not give up on returning. He responds by leaving a ‘heart’ when employees post a request to return to X (old Twitter). He also told X: “We will work together in some way.” U.S. IT media outlet ‘The Verge’ quoted a source and reported, “Altman’s announcement that he was moving to Microsoft was a solution to prevent a plunge before the stock market opened on Monday.” Among the three current board members, Sutskever, known as the “leader of the coup” that ousted Altman, said, “I never intended to harm OpenAI. “I will do anything to reunite the company,” he posted on X, and Altman responded to this post with three hearts.
If Altman returns and the entire board of directors is replaced, OpenAI could become a ‘big tech’ at the forefront of the AI development competition. An official from a global AI development company said, “It is ironic that Open AI, which has received a lot of external investment and attracted numerous startups and large corporate customers, claims to be a non-profit organization.”
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Mark Jones is a world traveler and journalist for News Rebeat. With a curious mind and a love of adventure, Mark brings a unique perspective to the latest global events and provides in-depth and thought-provoking coverage of the world at large.