The crisis at OpenAI continues, the future is in danger

As the chaos at OpenAI enters its fifth day, Silicon Valley is waking up. This chaos came to a head yesterday when CEO Sam Altman left to join Microsoft after being fired a few days earlier.

There are “intense discussions” about merging the company. It is unclear whether this has been accomplished before. Bloomberg also reported renewed contact between Altman and at least one board member about a possible return. Until there is more clarity on this issue, the future of the company behind ChatGPT, the popular chatbot that caused a real AI stir this year, remains uncertain.

This all happened when Altman announced ChatGPT’s next big step earlier this month: GPTs. Think of them as specialized and adaptable personal assistants. Nothing seemed wrong then. It also comes just before ChatGPT’s one-year anniversary. It’s now a tool used by hundreds of millions of people every week.

Five questions and answers about the current situation.

Could this be the end of OpenAI?

A lot depends on how the coming hours and days will pass. The fact is that almost all OpenAI employees (about 770 people in total) signed a letter threatening to move to Microsoft unless the board resigns. Without these employees, the company would no longer exist. It could be said that this makes the board’s position untenable.

A source told the Financial Times that the board was keen to test whether employees had actually moved to Microsoft. OpenAI investors are currently exploring legal options to put pressure on the board, according to sources at tech site Arstechnica.

Did the board overplay its hand?

It is becoming increasingly clear that the board, now comprised mainly of foreigners, has vastly underestimated the situation. The step taken by the board of directors on Friday is nothing to be taken lightly. You can’t just fire the CEO of a successful company. This requires further explanation. It’s still not there. The Verge writes that no additional statement has yet been made to the new CEO.

This has led to much speculation and little clarity. A widely discussed theory is that there is a battle of direction within OpenAI over the speed at which AI should be developed. It is known that Altman has various projects other than OpenAI, such as the plan to create a chip manufacturer that can compete with Nvidia. He wants to raise billions in the Middle East to achieve this.

OpenAI’s board of directors operates differently than the average company. The primary role of the board of directors is generally to maximize profits for shareholders. OpenAI’s mission is to develop artificial intelligence that is better than humans. Sales are secondary. If another party achieves this goal sooner, OpenAI is intended to assist that party. This is a far cry from the competition that OpenAI has now fully joined with ChatGPT.

What does Microsoft benefit from this crisis?

The software giant is the main partner of OpenAI and has integrated the technology behind ChatGPT into its own software programs. The company also invested $13 billion in the form of loans to OpenAI to purchase data center space from Microsoft.

It can be said that Microsoft ties its future in artificial intelligence to the future of OpenAI. This has looked like a masterstroke for the past few months. Until last Friday. Since then, the company has been trying to salvage what it can.

Is Sam Altman going to Microsoft or not?

This is unclear. In fact, even Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella doesn’t seem to know. This shows how changing the situation is. The Verge wrote last night that Altman was willing to return alongside his confidant Greg Brockman, who was OpenAI’s president until Friday. This discussion with the board is currently ongoing. It didn’t work so well this weekend, but the cards are shuffled differently now.

What will happen to ChatGPT?

Nothing in the short term. In the long term, the situation is much more uncertain. It depends on how the board responds to pressure from employees and pressure that investors no doubt continue to exert behind the scenes.

Source: NOS