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Dakota Tebaldi

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Despite ultimatums by several Altman personality-devotees at the company, OpenAI did not hire Altman or Brockman back. Instead, Emmet Shear, a former Twitch CEO, was hired as the new interim CEO of OpenAI.

Altman and Brockman have instead been hired by Microsoft for their own in-house AI research division, per Satya Nadella.
 
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More and more details are now coming to the light what happened around Altman and why.

Most people do agree about that the basic conflict is that within OpenAI there was a profit vs. non profit battle going on. Sam Altman was in the profit camp, meaning he tried to market the products already to generate profit. The fire was sparked when Altman had the dev day conference; many of the non profit camp considered the speed of development as too risky, and wanted to dedicate more time to safety and caution.

Pivotal to the firing was chief scientist, also co-founder Iyla Sutskever, who clearly is a member of the non-profit camp. After Altman announced his products, Sutskever got the board on his side and the rest is history. The board members who voted against Altman felt he was manipulative, headstrong and wanted to do what he wanted to do. Which is like a typical tech CEO, but OpenAI is not a typical tech company.

It comes also as no surprise that for the one brief moment Altman considered returning his demand for that was to fire the entire board.

 

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OpenAI just (tried to) kicked them out.
Seems we've moved on.

OpenAI has a third CEO in three days: Emmett Shear. After a shock firing of former CEO Sam Altman on Friday, Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear is officially taking over as interim CEO of OpenAI. The Information first revealed Shear’s appointment on Sunday night. The official announcement comes just an hour after Microsoft confirmed it had hired Sam Altman and OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman to form a new advanced AI research team.

“Today I got a call inviting me to consider a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: to become the interim CEO of OpenAI,” says Emmett Shear in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “After consulting with my family and reflecting on it for just a few hours, I accepted.”
 
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And Altman is now a (Micro)softie.

Microsoft is hiring former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman.

Altman was fired from OpenAI on Friday, after the board said it “no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.” After a weekend of negotiations to potentially bring Altman back to OpenAI, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that both Sam Altman and Greg Brockman will be joining to lead Microsoft’s new advanced AI research team.

“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,” says Nadella. “We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success.”
Could not have picked a better place to land if he's truly focused on the commercial aspects of AI.
 
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Bartholomew Gallacher

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Well since many scientists were fired as well, Altman took them all over to Microsoft. So basically OpenAI is more or less dead by now, because Microsoft has no longer a reason to fund OpenAI since all its main assets are now on their payroll.

By the way in September Elizabeth Weil from "Intelligencer" portrayed Altman, he's quite the typical, egotistical tech bro CEO like you would imagine:

By Altman’s own assessment — discernible in his many blog posts, podcasts, and video events — we should feel good but not great about him as our AI leader. As he understands himself, he’s a plenty-smart-but-not-genius “technology brother” with an Icarus streak and a few outlier traits. First, he possesses, he has said, “an absolutely delusional level of self-confidence.” Second, he commands a prophetic grasp of “the arc of technology and societal change on a long time horizon.” Third, as a Jew, he is both optimistic and expecting the worst. Fourth, he’s superb at assessing risk because his brain doesn’t get caught up in what other people think.

On the downside: He’s neither emotionally nor demographically suited for the role into which he’s been thrust. “There could be someone who enjoyed it more,” he admitted on the Lex Fridman Podcast in March. “There could be someone who’s much more charismatic.” He’s aware that he’s “pretty disconnected from the reality of life for most people.” He is also, on occasion, tone-deaf. For instance, like many in the tech bubble, Altman uses the phrase “median human,” as in, “For me, AGI” — artificial general intelligence — “is the equivalent of a median human that you could hire as a co-worker.”

It can be hard to parse who Altman is, really; how much we should trust him; and the extent to which he’s integrating others’ concerns, even when he’s on a stage with the intention of quelling them. Altman said he would try to slow the revolution down as much as he could. Still, he told the assembled, he believed that it would be okay. Or likely be okay. We — a tiny word with royal overtones that was doing a lot of work in his rhetoric — should just “decide what we want, decide we’re going to enforce it, and accept the fact that the future is going to be very different and probably wonderfully better.”


And he's by no means a computer scientist, despite being wealthy and intelligent enough to have attended courses at Stanford, only one year after that he dropped out of it because he considered it a waste of time and focused instead on his first startup.
 
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So its really weird.

I have not been super following all this, but the impression I initially had was like, "Oh no, why wouldnthey get rid of Altman, he was great!".

But now I am seeing more, "Altman was a POS person and a vulture capitalist type only interested in money and now he is part of the darkside at Microsoft."

It feels like a weird 180 on opinions of the guy.
 

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New news about OpenAI: more than 500 of its 770 employees had signed a letter saying they may quit and join Altman at Microsoft, unless the board resigns and reappoints Altman as their CEO.

This tells more than anything so far IMHO. Remarkably one of the signees is Ilya Sutskever, who has been blamed for coordinating the coup against Altman in first place.

 
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More and more details are now coming to the light what happened around Altman and why.

Most people do agree about that the basic conflict is that within OpenAI there was a profit vs. non profit battle going on. Sam Altman was in the profit camp, meaning he tried to market the products already to generate profit. The fire was sparked when Altman had the dev day conference; many of the non profit camp considered the speed of development as too risky, and wanted to dedicate more time to safety and caution.

Pivotal to the firing was chief scientist, also co-founder Iyla Sutskever, who clearly is a member of the non-profit camp. After Altman announced his products, Sutskever got the board on his side and the rest is history. The board members who voted against Altman felt he was manipulative, headstrong and wanted to do what he wanted to do. Which is like a typical tech CEO, but OpenAI is not a typical tech company.

It comes also as no surprise that for the one brief moment Altman considered returning his demand for that was to fire the entire board.

This is consistent with my thoughts and what I heard. I think OpenAI couldn't make up it's mind between utopian ethics and profit and will now end up with neither. Sadly, American capitalism will always favor what makes the investors money. I'm willing to bet Altman will be successful rebuilding his team at microsoft and they will build useful, profitable products. ...ethical side effects are harder to predict.
 

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Altman is to OpenAI what Musk is to Tesla - the public figure, but not the technical mastermind.
In general I think leadership gets too much of the credit. Even if the CEO is the single most important person in the company, they often get talked about like they are the only person doing anything....
 

Dakota Tebaldi

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Microsoft cut 10,000 employees last January, and another couple hundred just this past summer. Sure they snatched up Altman quick enough but did they really extend job offers to 500 of his friends? I'm a little skeptical about that.

If I was one of the hundreds of MS employees that got axed a few months ago I'd be livid.
 

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Overnight, the OpenAI board named a new interim CEO, Emmett Shear, who acknowledged the messy process and promised to hire an investigator to generate a full report on Altman's firing.

But the story isn't over yet, because Monday morning, 650 of 770 OpenAI employees sent a letter to the OpenAI board demanding that all current board members resign and Altman and Brockman be reinstated, or they will likely leave to join Altman and Brockman at Microsoft. (Apparently the number of signatories to the letter is still growing, see update below.)
"The process through which you terminated Sam Altman and removed Greg Brockman from the board has jeopardized all of this work and undermined our mission and company," the letter states. "Your conduct has made it clear you did not have the competence to oversee OpenAI."
Not good.
 

Dakota Tebaldi

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Also, while Altman obviously isn't nearly as big as Musk, he does seem to have some kind of personality-cult attached to him at this point, because his fans are just way too happy and eager that he's going to work for Microsoft. Like I'm already seeing gushing hopeful fanfic about Microsoft now dominating AI research thanks to Sam Altman, which is so weird because like literally 24 hours ago the tech consumer community almost universally viewed Microsoft as the devil.

I mean, -I- kinda like Microsoft, or at least don't UNlike them, but even I know that's a super minority sentiment. And they just kind of embrace-extend-extinguished OpenAI if you think about it, but so many OpenAI fans are like "Yaaaaaay!"
 

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If I was asked is there a corporation I believe would enthusiastically build an AI that ends up destroying humanity, I fully believe Microsoft fills that bill. And I still run Windows.
 
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Microsoft cut 10,000 employees last January, and another couple hundred just this past summer. Sure they snatched up Altman quick enough but did they really extend job offers to 500 of his friends? I'm a little skeptical about that.

If I was one of the hundreds of MS employees that got axed a few months ago I'd be livid.
Well, there's a difference between just 500 random computer scientists and the majority of the team which created ChatGPT. There are not so many computer scientists with real experience in AI on the job market right now.

For Microsoft it is a bargain, and in the long terms much cheaper than to finance OpenAI. On top of that they can now steer this whole thing directly. What's not to love about that from a Microsoftian perspective?
 

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Maybe so or maybe not so.

Sam Altman’s surprise move to Microsoft after his shock firing at OpenAI isn’t a done deal. He and co-founder Greg Brockman are still willing to return to OpenAI if the remaining board members who fired him step aside, multiple sources tell The Verge.

The promised mass exodus of virtually every OpenAI employee — including board member and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, who led the initial move to depose Altman! — means that there is more pressure on the board than ever, with only two of the three remaining members needing to flip. Altman posted on X that “we are all going to work together some way or other,” which we are told is meant to indicate that the fight continues.
 
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It seems like Microsoft needs to acquire the company or take in the mass exodus from OpenAI if that happens.
 
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I mean, -I- kinda like Microsoft, or at least don't UNlike them, but even I know that's a super minority sentiment. And they just kind of embrace-extend-extinguished OpenAI if you think about it, but so many OpenAI fans are like "Yaaaaaay!"
I like Microsoft, but I feel the move is weird, probably mostly defensive. I think Microsoft ultimately does not really care about AI and the minefield of potential liability, they just want to encourage its use of Azure, because its extremely respurce intensive.

If Apple or Amazon or Google snatched up Altman, then they would lose that sweet OpenAI deal.