On Friday, the world was shocked to learn that OpenAI cofounder Sam Altman (and to many, the global face of artificial intelligence) had been sacked by the board of the firm he helped found. Along with Altman's unexpected departure, OpenAI cofounder and fellow board member Greg Brockman, president of OpenAI, also left the company.
The reasons for the sudden and totally unexpected shift at the highest level of one of the world's most renowned AI companies is still fairly opaque. With only a mention in one board communique that Mr Altman "was not consistently candid in his communications with the board". Well the story broke to shock and consternation across the globe, which soon spilled beyond Silicon Valley.
OpenAI is for many people the flagship company of artificial intelligence, and on a business level is seen as being at the top of its game. Worth billions and backed by tech giant Microsoft. So what happened? As yet, no one seems to know, but the story doesn't end there. Over the weekend, there were talks of Altman returning to OpenAI, the company released not one but two names as interim CEOs - the latest one announced on Sunday is that of Emmett Shear, former CEO of Amazon's streaming company Twitch.
So what now for Altman and fellow cofounder Brockman? Well, it seems that they are now in the Microsoft fold and have been given new roles in a newly formed advanced AI team within the company. But what follows the story has yet to unfold. There are now questions being asked about how OpenAI is governed. A board of six people, two of whom Altman and Brockman, were ousted on Friday shows that in the world of AI there is a very small community of people with a great deal of power. And, what had Altman and co done to undermine their position so suddenly and with such irrevocable results? In this story, we will all need to stay tuned because it could impact, change, and shape the artificial intelligence tools we use in the future.
Image used from Sky News