OpenAI, the company behind the viral chatbot ChatGPT, announced on Friday that its CEO and founder, Sam Altmann, has been dismissed and will be leaving the company immediately. In a statement, the company revealed that an internal investigation had found […]
OpenAI, the company behind the viral chatbot ChatGPT, announced on Friday that its CEO and founder, Sam Altmann, has been dismissed and will be leaving the company immediately.
In a statement, the company revealed that an internal investigation had found that Altmann had not always been honest with the Board of Directors.
“The departure of Mr. Altmann follows a careful review by the Board of Directors, who concluded that he had not consistently been truthful in his communication with the board, which impairs his ability to fulfill his responsibilities,” the company stated. “The board no longer has confidence in his ability to lead OpenAI.”
OpenAI has announced that Mira Murati, the company’s Chief Technology Officer, will serve as interim CEO until a permanent successor is chosen.
This news comes after OpenAI held its first developer conference in San Francisco last week, where Altmann hosted and presented a series of updates to artificial intelligence tools, including the ability for developers to create customized versions of ChatGPT. He also shared that the platform currently has around 2 million users, with approximately 90% of Fortune 500 companies internally utilizing the tools. ChatGPT currently boasts 100 million active users.
ChatGPT was launched last year, making Altmann overnight famous and the face of a new generation of artificial intelligence tools that can generate images and texts in response to user queries. This technology, known as generative artificial intelligence, has since been implemented by Microsoft on their search platform and other tools. Google also has a competing system called “Bard,” and other generative AI tools have been developed in recent months.
While Altmann has long advocated for artificial intelligence, he has also been one of its biggest critics. In his testimony before Congress earlier this year, Altmann described the current boom in this technology as a turning point.
“Will artificial intelligence be like the printing press, spreading knowledge, power, and learning across space, empowering ordinary individuals and leading to greater prosperity, ultimately resulting in more freedom?” he asked. “Or will it be more like the atomic bomb – a tremendous technological breakthrough, but with (grave, terrible) consequences that haunt us to this day?”
He was also one of several technology executives who met with White House leaders, including Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden, this year to emphasize the importance of ethical and responsible AI development.
Altmann and OpenAI have faced criticism for their need to proceed with caution. Elon Musk, who helped found OpenAI before distancing himself from the group, along with dozens of technology leaders, professors, and researchers, have called on AI labs like OpenAI to halt the development of the most powerful artificial intelligences for the next six months, citing “profound risks to society and humanity.” Meanwhile, some experts have questioned whether those who signed the letter want to maintain a competitive advantage over other companies.
OpenAI has declined CNN’s request for further comment.
Arun Chandrasekaran, an analyst at Gartner Research, called Altmann’s departure “shocking,” considering he was a major advocate for OpenAI among developers, consumers, regulators, and others. “I am confident that the Board of Directors of OpenAI made this decision after much consideration,” he said.
“OpenAI has a deep bench of technology leaders, and it will be interesting to see how the next generation of its leaders will continue to steer the company, preserving a culture of high-paced innovation, expanding the business, and meeting the expectations of regulators and society as a whole.”
This story has been updated with additional information.