Sam Altman, who as CEO of OpenAI gave the world ChatGPT and became one of the most influential people in technologyleft the company after losing the trust of its board of directors.
A company statement says a review “concluded that he was not always candid in his communications with the board, which hindered his ability to carry out his responsibilities.” Mira Murati, previously OpenAI’s CTO, has been named interim CEO while OpenAI searches for a full-time replacement, the statement said.
Altman did not respond to a request for comment. OpenAI declined to comment.
Greg Brockman, who co-founder of OpenAI with Altman alongside big names in AI and technology, including Elon Musk, will also step down from his role as chairman of the company’s board of directors, the company’s statement said. No reason was given for Brockman’s change in position.
ChatGPT’s surprising capabilities, such as solving complex puzzles and handling questions that appear to require human-like reasoning, have stunned AI researchers, amazed the public, and sparked an arms race among major tech companies to build more powerful AI. The robot’s success made Altman a tech celebrity, consulted by world leaders on the future of AI technology.
Altman appeared at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco yesterday, telling hundreds of business and government leaders that AI systems could solve humanity’s most pressing problems if their development was pursued responsibly.
“We are currently on a path to self-destruction as a species,” he said, sitting alongside executives from Meta and Google. “We need new technologies if we are to thrive for tens, hundreds of thousands and millions more years.”
Altman acknowledged that success was not certain, but expressed confidence that AI would ultimately be beneficial, describing the technology as his life’s work, dating back to his childhood. “It will be the most transformative and beneficial technology humanity has ever invented,” he said.
OpenAI was founded in 2015 as a nonprofit organization focused on safely developing AI that is smarter than humans. It was funded by Musk and others, including Peter Thiel and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.
OpenAI became a for-profit company in 2019, as the cost of creating and training advanced AI became difficult. It entered into a partnership with Microsoft in 2019 that saw the software giant invest $1 billion and provide cloud computing power to train OpenAI’s algorithms. This year, Microsoft agreed to invest an additional $10 billion in OpenAI.
OpenAI has developed a number of cutting-edge AI projects in the years since its founding, but the introduction of ChatGPT in November 2022 has quickly made the company one of the most valuable companies in the world.
Additional reporting by Paresh Dave.