Latest ChatGPT's Altman dismissed! And to the big IT 11/20 19:12

Generative AI is rapidly expanding its use around the world. The American venture company "Open AI" that developed ChatGPT, which created the boom, is shaking. CEO Sam Altman, the face of the company, was abruptly dismissed on November 11. Exploring the background, it seems that there was a feud with the board of directors and a discussion over the evolution of generative AI.
On the 17th Japan time, it was revealed that he would join Microsoft, which has a collaborative relationship, and the turbulence continues.
(U.S. Bureau Reporter Daisuke Ezaki / International Department Desk Hirotaka Toyonaga)

Sudden "dismissal" scathing sentence

On Friday, November 2023, 11, things took a sudden turn.

Open AI, which provides ChatGPT's services, has announced the retirement of CEO Sam Altman.

When you read a press release, you notice something strange.

Normally, when a CEO retires, no matter how much English culture prefers straightforward expressions, the person's contributions are politely indicated in writing.

However, the second paragraph describes what a fine person Mira Murati, who was appointed as interim CEO as his replacement, is.

Then, in a straightforward expression that is close to harsh, it is written as follows.

"Mr. Altman's departure was reviewed by the Board of Directors, and we have concluded that he has consistently lacked candor in communicating with the Board and hindered the Board's ability to carry out its responsibilities.

Mira Murati is the right person to lead the company's research, products, and safety features.

The phrase "research, products, and safety features" seemed to reflect the thoughts of the Board of Directors.

More on this later.

Booming Generative AI

OpenAI released ChatGPT's free service on November 2022, 11.

It will soon be one year.

It shocked the world by saying that it was a natural expression as if it were written by a human being, and that it could answer advanced content in a short time.

According to some surveys, it reached 5 million users in just 100 days after its release.

This is overwhelmingly faster than Instagram took two and a half months, Facebook took 2 months, and the old Twitter took two years.

Motion to dismiss in a short period of time

Why was Altman dismissed? I don't know the details of the inner workings, but Greg Brockman, the president of Open AI and Altman's right-hand man (who also announced that he would resign as president due to this uproar), wrote about it on the old Twitter "X".

According to it, it is as follows.

On the evening
of November 11, Altman received a message from Ilya Satsukiba, co-founder and board member of OpenAI, who said he would speak at noon on the 16th.

On the afternoon of November 1, Mr. Altman participated in the online meeting at noon on the 17th, and all of
the directors except Mr. Brockman were present at the meeting.
Mr. Satsukiber informed Mr. Altman of his dismissal.

Nov 11 at 17:17pmBrockman
received a message from Satsukiber asking him to call immediately.

Nov 11 17:12pm:
Satsukiber sent a link to the online meeting.
At the meeting, it was reported that Mr. Brockman had been dismissed from the board.

It is conveyed that the motion for dismissal at the board of directors is being made in a short period of time.

The cause of the dismissal was the end of a power struggle?

There have been various reports surrounding Altman's dismissal.

The Wall Street Journal, a leading American newspaper, reported on November 11, "Mr. Altman told a person that he was shocked and angry about the decision of the board of directors after his dismissal, and that he felt that it was the result of a power struggle between the members of the board."

"One of the reasons for the heightened tension with the board was whether the safety of the products rolled out as part of the rapid expansion of the service was sufficiently considered," the source said.

Is it a feud over the business development and safety of generative AI?

Taken together, one of the board members, Ilya Satsukiber, emerges as the central figure who led the dismissal.

Satsuki Barr was born in the Soviet Union, grew up in Israel, and allegedly immigrated to Canada as a teenager.

He worked with Dr. Geoffrey Hinton, a world authority on AI, at the University of Toronto in Canada, and became known as an expert in AI machine learning.

In 10, when he left Google, where he was working at the time, and founded Open AI with Altman and others, he said that unlike Google and other companies, Open AI does not work with commercial motives.

According to the influential New York Times, the popularity of ChatGPT has made Altman one of the most recognizable executives in the tech industry, but his success has heightened tensions within the company.

Satsukiber also reported that he was increasingly concerned about the potential dangers of Open AI's technology and Altman's lack of attention to the risks, as well as his diminishing role within the company.

Complex organizational structure

The internal situation of Open AI can be perceived as a line conflict.

Another factor that complicates the story is the complex structure of the company.

OpenAI was founded in San Francisco in 2015, but it was originally a non-profit research organization aimed at developing and popularizing AI.

At the time, Altman was involved in the founding of OpenAI as the president of Y Combinator, an accelerator that funds startups and provides management advice.

However, after struggling to raise funds and other issues in advancing research, the company converted to a for-profit company in 2019.

Because of this background, there is a dual structure in which a non-profit organization overseen by the board of directors oversees OpenAI, which is a private company.

It is easy to imagine that there was a disagreement between the board of directors, which emphasizes the development and dissemination of safe AI, and Mr. Altman, who pursues business priority and profit.

As I wrote at the beginning, the emphasis on "research, products, and safety functions" in the press release was probably based on the thoughts of the Board of Directors, or more specifically, Mr. Satsukiba, who emphasizes the safety functions of AI.

Investors urging a comeback

After Altman's dismissal, various developments have been reported.

Investors are concerned about the company's turmoil.

It is reported that Microsoft, which has invested heavily in Open AI, venture capital Thrive Capital, etc., are moving to encourage Mr. Altman's return.

On November 11, Altman posted a photo of himself holding a guest pass on the social media site X.

"This is the first and last time I'll wear this," he posted, a statement that could be taken as positive about his return.

On the other hand, on November 11, the board of directors of Open AI did not agree to Mr. Altman's return, and it was not until the evening of the 19th that it was breaking news that another person would be proposed as interim CEO.

Microsoft reaches out

Then, at midnight on November 11 and on the evening of November 19, Japan time, Microsoft began a headhunt.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella posted on the 20th that Mr. Altman and Greg Brockman, who was dismissed as president and director, will join Microsoft.

The two will lead a new advanced AI research team.
In addition, it is said that it will continue to collaborate with Open AI, which has a collaborative relationship, under the new CEO.

However, there is darkness at the end of the day. There is also a question as to whether Microsoft, which has invested a large amount of money, will continue to collaborate with Open AI in a friendly manner.
Mr. Altman will be the CEO of the new team, and Mr. Nadella is very welcome, but the future is uncertain.

Is it a confrontation because of innovative technology?

Silicon Valley companies, which create new technologies that do not exist in the world from small venture companies, have often had internal disputes and resignations over management.

In the past, Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple, was once expelled from the company.

It is said that entrepreneur Elon Musk was also kicked out of PayPal, an electronic payment service that he managed, and out of rebellion at that time, he bought the old Twitter and is now trying to realize his thoughts.

Altman's dismissal comes as a result of the rapid growth of the innovative technology of generative AI.

Generative AI is not only good for businesses and people's lives, but it also has various negative aspects such as the spread of misinformation, fakes, and loss of jobs.

Because of the technology that makes such a big difference, there is a lot of disagreement, and I feel that it has led to this dismissal.

(Broadcast on "Oha Biz" on November 11)

Daisuke Ezaki, Reporter
for the American BureauJoined the Miyazaki
Bureau in 2003, the Economic Department,
and the Takamatsu Bureau before joining the current Bureau

Toyonaga joined the International
Department Desk in 1995, worked in the Economics Department, the U.S. Bureau (New York), the Oha Biz Anchor, the Osaka Bureau Desk
, and the Economic Department Desk before assuming his current position