OpenAI Drama Continues

Since last I wrote about the ongoing leadership battle at OpenAI:

  • OpenAI named a new interim CEO, Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear. (Shear is an AI worrier, who has advocated drastically “slowing down”, writing “If we’re at a speed of 10 right now, a pause is reducing to 0. I think we should aim for a 1-2 instead.”) OpenAI CTO Mira Murati was CEO for about two days.

  • Satya Nadella announced very late Sunday night, “And we’re extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team. We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success.”

  • About 700 OpenAI employees, out of a total of 770, signed an open letter demanding the OpenAI board resign, and threatening to quit to join Altman at Microsoft if they don’t. Among the signees: Mira Murati (which might explain why she’s no longer interim CEO) and chief scientist and board member Ilya Sutskever.

  • Sutskever posted on Twitter/X: “I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions. I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we’ve built together and I will do everything I can to reunite the company.”

  • Alex Heath and Nilay Patel report for The Verge that Altman and Brockman might still return to OpenAI.

  • Nadella appeared on CNBC and admitted that Altman and Brockman were not officially signed as Microsoft employees yet, and when asked who would be OpenAI’s CEO tomorrow, laughed, because he didn’t know.

See also: Ben Thompson’s crackerjack take on the saga at Stratechery. Long story short: OpenAI’s company structure was a ticking time bomb.

Monday, 20 November 2023