This is the latest development in the saga of OpenAI and its former CEO. Here is the timeline:
- Friday, November 17, 2023: Sam Altman is fired as OpenAI CEO by the board of directors, effective immediately. The board accuses him of being “not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities” 1. CTO Mira Murati is appointed as interim CEO while the board searches for a permanent successor. Greg Brockman, co-founder and president of OpenAI, steps down as chairman of the board “as part of this transition” 1. Altman posts a statement on X, saying he loved his time at OpenAI and will have more to say about what’s next later 2.
- Friday night, November 17, 2023: Brockman and Altman release a joint statement from Brockman’s X/Twitter account, claiming they were “shocked and saddened by what the board did” and were “still trying to figure out exactly what happened” 2. They say Altman was informed of his firing by the entire board (except for Brockman) in a Google Meet on Friday, and Brockman was told shortly after that he would be removed from the board as well 2. They also say Murati was the only other OpenAI leader who knew about the planned overhaul before Friday 2. Altman follows up with another tweet, calling the fiasco “a weird experience in many ways” 2.
- Saturday, November 18, 2023: The tech industry and the media react to the news of Altman’s firing, with many expressing shock, confusion, and speculation about the reasons behind the board’s decision. Some praise Altman for his visionary leadership and achievements at OpenAI, while others criticize him for his controversial moves and statements regarding AI regulation and ethics. Some also question the board’s motives and transparency, and wonder about the future of OpenAI and its flagship products, ChatGPT and DALL-E 2 345.
- Sunday, November 19, 2023: OpenAI releases an update on its website, saying it is “committed to continuing our mission of ensuring that artificial intelligence is aligned with humanity’s values and can be deployed safely and equitably for everyone” 6. It also says it is “grateful for Sam’s contributions and leadership over the past two years” and “wishes him the best in his future endeavors” 6. It does not provide any further details or explanations about the reasons for Altman’s firing or the board’s review process 6.
- Monday, November 20, 2023: OpenAI announces that Emmett Shear, the former CEO of Twitch, has joined the company as the new interim CEO, replacing Murati . Shear says he is “honored and excited to join OpenAI and help shape the future of AI for the benefit of humanity” . He also says he is “looking forward to working with the amazing team of researchers, engineers, and leaders at OpenAI, as well as the board and the community” . The announcement does not mention Murati’s role or status at OpenAI .
- Monday, November 20, 2023: Microsoft announces that it has hired Sam Altman to lead a new advanced AI research team within the company, reporting directly to CEO Satya Nadella. The team will focus on developing cutting-edge AI technologies and applications, leveraging Microsoft’s cloud and AI platforms, as well as collaborating with OpenAI and other partners. Nadella says he is “thrilled to welcome Sam to Microsoft and to our AI vision” . He also says he is “impressed by Sam’s passion and expertise in AI, as well as his track record of innovation and leadership at OpenAI and Y Combinator” . Altman says he is “excited to join Microsoft and to work with Satya and the amazing AI team” . He also says he is “looking forward to creating AI that can empower and benefit everyone” . The announcement does not mention the terms or duration of Altman’s contract with Microsoft .