According to US media reports on Sunday, prominent investors in OpenAI, the company responsible for the widely acclaimed ChatGPT, are actively involved in efforts to reinstate Sam Altman as CEO. Altman, a prominent figure in the AI industry, was unexpectedly dismissed on Friday.
Investors as important as Microsoft and private equity firm Thrive Capital are “looking to bring Sam Altman back,” the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed sources.
Microsoft and Thrive are OpenAI’s two biggest investors, but other investors are backing the effort, the Journal said.
The New York Times, meanwhile, reported that Ilya Sutskever, a respected artificial intelligence researcher and company board member, had expressed growing concern about the potential dangers of OpenAI’s technology and felt Altman was underestimating such risks.
OpenAI shocked the industry on Friday when it announced the immediate ouster of Silicon Valley superstar Altman.
A statement from OpenAI’s board referred to the company’s stated mission to ensure that AI benefits everyone, and said that “the company needs new leadership to move forward.”
Greg Brockman, one of the founders of OpenAI, was ousted from the company’s board in Friday’s arrangement. He later said he quit. Several other company officials also announced their departure.
The company said Altman’s resignation followed “the board’s thoughtful evaluation process, which determined that he was not consistently honest in his communications with the board, which impeded its ability to fulfill its responsibilities.”
“The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”
The statement added: “We are grateful to Sam for his many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI. At the same time, we believe that new leadership is necessary as we move forward.”
Sequoia Capital, another OpenAI investor, said it would support Altman and Brockman in whatever they decide to do next, whether they return to the company or start a new startup, CNBC reported, citing an unnamed source.
The 38-year-old Altman considered returning to the company, but wanted changes to both the board and the company’s management structure, the Journal said.
It said Altman was also discussing the possibility of starting a new company, including several OpenAI employees who resigned after he was fired. The final decision was already expected this weekend.
Since ChatGPT went online on November 30, 2022, millions of people have used it to write messages, request a recipe, or invent a story for their kids — which the bot can then read to them.