One theory of the case, popular on the social media platform X, is that the board was a bunch of clowns; they fired Sam for no really good reason beyond some ongoing tensions around company direction. Co-Founder Ilya Sutskever perhaps felt a bit left out.
My operating belief on this has been that recently Sam has kind of become disillusioned with the AGI narrative, and because he was less afraid of any near-term consequences with the technology, that he started pushing for rapid commercialization. He seemed to be speed running every monetization playbook that's been popular over the last two decades in the period of like 3 months, make the iPhone of AI, the app store of AI, run a big AI consultancy, etc. etc.
So I think it just builds on what you're saying but just put into more birds eye view terms: Sam recently changed his own mission from "Prevent AGI from destroying the world" (or whatever) to "monetize the tools we have made now". Ilya and others I think are still on the original mission and saw it as their moral prerogative to continue that mission (with maybe the exception of Adam because he has what I would consider a conflict of interest in Poe).
This has drastically changed how I view OpenAI and the people who work there, I used to think more cynically about their narratives around the AGI narrative and all, I believed it was their marketing strategy, but now I think they are true believers, and that Sam too once was.
A question I have would be, does that interpretation gel with what you know about the board members? Is it your feel that their non-profit mission is so important to them such that they would do what they did?
Quoting from Wikipedia:
"The nonprofit, OpenAI, Inc., is the sole controlling shareholder of OpenAI Global LLC, which, despite being a for-profit company, retains a formal fiduciary responsibility to OpenAI, Inc.'s nonprofit charter. A majority of OpenAI, Inc.'s board is barred from having financial stakes in OpenAI Global LLC. In addition, minority members with a stake in OpenAI Global LLC are barred from certain votes due to conflict of interest. Some researchers have argued that OpenAI Global LLC's switch to for-profit status is inconsistent with OpenAI's claims to be "democratizing" AI."
Maybe it's just plain, old fashioned, much maligned....greed.
After all -
It's a learning curve, until it's an invoice, then it's a mistake.
He flat out said publicly that the flagship technology, ChatGPT, was simply "cloning human speech," and went on to ask hard questions about AI that can "go discover new physics theories." You posted this actually, days ago. How can that stand? It's philosophically at odds with the ethos of the company. He's the exec at GM saying yes I know it's a nice looking car, but it has crappy brakes, and the AC quits and costs you money at the dealership just after the warranty expired. Etc. I have a piece coming out about this on my Sub Colligo. I have a guest post, who has some further insight into it. Stay tuned. Thanks for getting on this story.
Erik J. Larson
Makes sense but I think it’s difficult for people to understand because of the unique nonprofit mission of the top entity that the board controls. Their obligations are different from most boards.
Sounds possible. Do you think Greg Brockman was part of that planned venture, and referring to that ending his tweet “We will be fine. Greater things coming soon.”
Nah, they would have at least sounded out MSFT if that was the case.
The only reason you move this aggressively and this quickly is if you are in legal jeopardy as a board member.
It looks like a “what did you know, and when did you know it” situation. Or they were concerned he would sign off some unwanted deal imminently.
Sam is not the product development guy, so the hiding tech theories make no sense.
But Sam is the capital raising and the recruiting guy, what skeletons might exist in those closets?
The collapse of OpenAI is a consequence of the unattainability of the goal for which the company was created and declared. A scandalous board of directors meeting is just a reason the participants used to disassociate themselves from failure.
Some version of your theory makes sense. I have been on many public boards and have been involved in the exiting of 2 CEOs and you don’t do it lightly and you have cause. Ceo ‘s have a duty to their company. His new ventures could have been a conflict of interest and or violation of duty and he did not fully disclose ? It will come out. Most young messiahs turn out to be jerks or criminals
I think it’s much simpler. Altman & Brockman have not been communicating recognized revenue, pipeline, and cash burn to the board. They got better info from a unnamed insider, and quickly did damage control.
You can’t do an IPO on fantasy numbers these days.
Didn’t Altman release ChatGPT one year ago against the wishes of most of OpenAI? Perhaps something recent was the final straw.
I hope it's tension caused by the safety failures inherent in the ChatGPT model, and that safety and humanity won over rapid commercialization and valuation at apparently almost any cost.
So Ilya finally told the board that AGI wasn't what they thought it was and they've been hyping it this whole time and same lied about AGI altogether? I mean I've used all openai products and ChatGPT is actually a magic trick that seems super impressive and is super usefull for a lot of low level tasks. But I've been doing this since 2007 and theres something you should know if you dont already... its just a very impressive trick. That super intelligence that people think will come from scaling transformer models is not what you think. There is a decresing performance to the scaling that peters out and does not simply produce more complex responses. So we will have to wait a few yers for the thing everyone is hyping. And when Ilya (the most honest person in that group by orders of magnitude) when he finally ust admitted it the openai board flipped out. But Sam knows this and so does Satya thats why they're saying the things they say. It's cool. But Ilya should just come out and tell everyone that so its in the opne and people can stop wasting so much time on the hype or this will all end up like our fabulous crypto brothers and sisters. So those of you who know the trutch just encourage your friends to admit it and it will all be ok I promise ;)
From The Guardian: Sam Altman ‘was working on new venture’ before sacking from OpenAI
"The former OpenAI president, Greg Brockman, is also expected to join Altman after he quit the artificial intelligence firm along with other key senior executives following Altman’s abrupt departure."
Amateur Hour. OpenAI in talks with Altman to return as CEO.
Seems like MSFT are returning the humiliation!
The best way this thing turns out is Altman wakes up one morning in a remote village with all the other OpenAI employees. Number Two, played by Nadella, refers to him as Number Six and they all spend their time labeling images and moderating CSAM for $2 a day.
This story is continuing to develop with amazing rapidity--especially amazing because it's happening over a weekend that still has another day to go.