New Delhi: The rollercoaster saga of OpenAI founder and ex-CEO Sam Altman has finally come to an end with the announcement of him joining Microsoft to head the advanced AI research division. Clearing the mist of uncertainty, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced in the X post that they are “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”.
The chain of events that unfolded after the firing of Sam Altman by the board of OpenAI, the board’s discussion to reinstate him, and finally, Microsoft CEO’s post is nothing less than a game of snake and ladder with many layers and complexities.
Sam Altman has become the poster boy since the launch of ChatGPT last year, the most powerful and sophisticated conversation AI ever built, ushering humankind into the age of AI. What seemed like a future technology has become a daily use tool for many since then.
Sam Altman Saga – Timeline of the Events
The entire drama began when Sam Altman, the Chief Executive Officer of OpenAI, received a text from Ilya Sutskever, the board Chairman of OpenAI, asking for a meeting. OpenAI board informed him during the Google Meet that he was being fired. His colleague and co-founder Greg Brockman were also removed from the board simultaneously.
i loved my time at openai. it was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit. most of all i loved working with such talented people.
will have more to say about what’s next later.
— Sam Altman (@sama) November 17, 2023
Sam and I are shocked and saddened by what the board did today.
Let us first say thank you to all the incredible people who we have worked with at OpenAI, our customers, our investors, and all of those who have been reaching out.
We too are still trying to figure out exactly…
— Greg Brockman (@gdb) November 18, 2023
Stirring The Hornets’ Nest
OpenAI released a press statement, announcing the changes in the leadership and making the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of OpenAI the new interim CEO. The entire action has snowballed into a big controversy globally as many condemned the OpenAI board’s move and asked to reinstate Sam Altman. Some reports suggest that staff members of OpenAI also demanded to bring back Sam unless they would resign.
The Mist of Uncertainty
After facing backlash from many sections of society, OpenAI board started discussions with Sam Altman for a return. However, the talks failed eventually. Open AI employees showed support for Altman, indicating a potential mass resignation if he started a new company.
Unexpected Entry & End
OpenAI’s Ilya Sutskever announced that Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear will assume the role of the new interim CEO of OpenAI. This put the lid on the chances of seeing Sam Altman again. At last, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman are joining Microsoft to lead the advanced AI research division, ending the riveting saga.
We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and have confidence in our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite, and in continuing to support our customers and partners. We look forward to getting to know Emmett…
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) November 20, 2023
Nadella also greeted OpenAI’s new leadership and Emmett Shear and said “looking forward” to “working with them”.